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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006 Feb;117(2):404-10.

Immediate allergic reactions to cephalosporins: evaluation of cross-reactivity with a panel of penicillins and cephalosporins.

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  • 1Research Laboratory for Allergic Diseases, Carlos Haya Hospital, Malaga, Spain.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Allergy to cephalosporins has mainly been evaluated in the context of patients with confirmed penicillin allergy. The problem of studying cross-reactivity in subjects primarily sensitized to cephalosporins and potentially allergic to penicillins has not been sufficiently addressed.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the in vitro IgE response and cross-reactivity to betalactams in patients with immediate allergic reactions to cephalosporins.

METHODS:

The study included 24 patients with immediate allergic reactions to cephalosporins and RAST-positive to at least 1 cephalosporin. Skin testing and RAST were performed with a panel of penicillins and cephalosporins. RAST inhibition assay with different monomeric conjugates of penicillin and cephalosporin was performed to establish cross-reactivity.

RESULTS:

The culprit cephalosporins were cefaclor (N = 7), cefonicid (N = 1), cefotaxime (N = 2), ceftazidime (N = 2), ceftriaxone (N = 3), and cefuroxime (N = 9). Two patients had a positive skin test result to penicillin determinants, and 22 patients had a negative result to penicillin determinants and tolerated benzylpenicillin administration. Of these 22, 19 had a positive skin test result to cephalosporins and divided into patients reacting only to the culprit cephalosporin (63.2%) and those reacting to more than 1 cephalosporin (36.8%). RAST and RAST inhibition studies confirmed that the side chain at the R1 position is crucial for recognition.

CONCLUSION:

The R1 side chain rather than the betalactam structure, shared by penicillins and cephalosporins, seems to play a dominant role in determining the specificity of immunologic reactions to cephalosporins. Thus, penicillin can be administered safely to patients allergic to cephalosporins and with a negative skin test result to penicillin determinants.

PMID:
16461141
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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