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Allergy Asthma Proc. 2012 Mar-Apr;33(2):160-4. doi: 10.2500/aap.2012.33.3510. Epub 2012 Mar 20.

Outpatient penicillin use after negative skin testing and drug challenge in a pediatric population.

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Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, CHU Sainte-Justine, Montreal, Qc, Canada.


The practice of elective penicillin skin testing could be compromised by the fact that patients, their parents, or their physicians remain reluctant to reuse penicillin-class antibiotics (PCAs) despite a negative evaluation by an allergist. This study addresses reuse of PCAs in a pediatric population after negative penicillin skin testing and drug challenge and factors associated with its reluctance. All children evaluated for a history of penicillin allergy at the CHU Sainte-Justine Allergy Clinic between January 1998 and June 2000 with negative skin testing and drug challenge were included in the study. A telephone survey was conducted between May and October 2002 to assess the perception of the initial reaction by the parents, subsequent use of antibiotics, and antibiotic-related adverse reactions. Among the 200 children selected, parents of 170 (85%) children completed the survey. Since the allergist evaluation, 130 (76%) children had received antibiotics. PCA was used in 59 (45%) children. Parents of 24 (18%) children refused PCAs because they still feared an adverse reaction. They were more likely to have been very frightened by their child's allergic reaction than other parents whose children had used PCAs (p = 0.008). Although elective penicillin skin testing is useful and safe in the pediatric population, a significant proportion of parents still refuse PCAs even though they are needed. Identification of parents that were very frightened by their children's allergic reactions and additional reassurance could improve this situation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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