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Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2014 Aug;34(3):489-506, vii. doi: 10.1016/j.iac.2014.03.003. Epub 2014 May 27.

Antibiotic allergy.

Author information

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, UCSC-Allergy Unit, Complesso Integrato Columbus, Via G. Moscati 31, Rome 00168, Italy.
  • 2Allergy & Clinical Immunology, Health Sciences Centre, Winnipeg, Departments of Medicine and Immunology, University of Manitoba, GC319, 820 Sherbrook Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3A 1R9, Canada. Electronic address:


Although allergy to β-lactam and non-β-lactam antibiotics is commonly claimed, true allergy to these drugs is often absent. Reactions to antibiotics can be classified according to the interval between the last administration of the drug and the onset of symptoms, but except for immediate reactions occurring within an hour of exposure, which are almost always either IgE-mediated or due to direct stimulation of mast cells, reactions occurring later than 1 hour probably have multiple mechanisms, including being IgE-mediated or involving cell-mediated reactions. The latter are likely caused by drug-specific T lymphocytes. The diagnosis of antibiotic allergy can be difficult.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Allergy; Antibiotics; Drug; Hypersensitivity; Immediate; Non-β-lactam; Nonimmediate; β-lactam

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