Children are not receiving optimal antibiotics because of misdiagnosed penicillin allergies, according to David Vyles, DO, and his associates at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Because there is no process to safely and rapidly diagnose true penicillin allergy in a critical care setting, pediatric providers are reluctant to prescribe penicillin to children with a reported allergy. In this study, a three-tier penicillin testing process was used to evaluate the accuracy of a parent-reported penicillin allergy questionnaire in identifying children likely to be at low risk for penicillin allergy in an ED setting.

The parents (597) of children aged 4-18 years with a history of parent-reported penicillin allergy completed an allergy questionnaire; 51% (302) of the children were categorized as low risk, and 100 of them completed allergy testing by using a standard three-tier testing process. Of these 100 children, 100% had negative results for penicillin allergy. The allergy designation subsequently was removed from each child’s chart.

“Our results in the current study highlight that the high percentage of patients reporting a penicillin allergy to medical providers are likely inconsistent with true allergy,” concluded Dr. Vyles and his associates.

Read more at Pediatrics (2017. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-0471 ).


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