BACKGROUND:Unconfirmed beta-lactam allergy is a significant public health problem because of the limitations it imposes in drug selection. In this study, we aimed to evaluate patients referred for beta-lactam allergy to determine the frequency of confirmed beta-lactam allergy and identify some risk factors.
METHODS: In a prospective cohort study, all referred patients to Immunology, Asthma and Allergy Research Institute in Tehran University of Medical Sciences (between 2007 – 2009) who suspected to have beta-lactam allergy were entered into this study based on having the inclusion criteria. Follow-up was performed 6 – 8 years after the final diagnosis. Diagnosis of beta-lactam allergy relies on thorough history and specific IgE measurements (ImmunoCAP), skin prick testing (SPT), intradermal testing (IDT), patch testing, and oral drug challenge test.
RESULTS: Fifty-one patients with mean age of 24.5 (±18.5) years were enrolled in this study. Based on workups, beta-lactam allergy was confirmed in 16 (31.4%) patients, suspicious in 22 (43.1%) patients and ruled out in 13 (25.5%) patients. During the follow-up, 3 patients with suspicious drug allergy consumed the culprit drug with no reaction so allergy was finally ruled out in 16 (31.4%) patients. Age, sex, atopy and family history of drug allergies were not significantly different between the patients with confirmed or ruled-out diagnosis of penicillin and amoxicillin allergy.
CONCLUSION: At least up to one-third of patients with a history of beta-lactam allergy are proven to be safe using the drug. Also, a clear protocol consists of serum sIgE assay and SPT can be helpful to the physicians in the health care system.