Drug Allergy Testing
The Allergy & Asthma Center provides testing when you’ve had an adverse reaction to prescription medicine. For more information, please contact us or book an appointment online. We serve patients from Lawrenceville GA, Atlanta GA, Conyers GA, Suwanee GA, Duluth GA, Grayson GA, Decatur GA, Brookhaven GA, Lithonia GA and Covington GA.
The providers at The Allergy & Asthma Center evaluate patients with drug allergies of all ages. The most common allergy we see is often due to the family of penicillin antibiotics.
Penicillin, first discovered by Dr. Alexander Fleming in 1928, is one of the most widely used antibiotics in the United States. Penicillin is also the most commonly reported drug allergy. About 10% of the US population report having a penicillin allergy. Typical allergic symptoms with penicillin include hives and other skin rashes, itching, wheezing, swelling, and in rare cases anaphylaxis (a life-threatening reaction affecting two or more organ systems). These symptoms usually occur within two hours of taking the drug. Rarely, there are other types of reactions to penicillin that can occur days or even weeks later.
Most people that report having a penicillin allergy are not truly allergic. In fact, a 2014 study found that out of 385 people reporting penicillin allergy, only six percent actually tested positive for penicillin.
Many people reporting penicillin allergy are labeled penicillin allergic as a child after developing symptoms (usually a rash) during a course of penicillin. However, that rash may have been a result of the illness being treated and not the drug itself. In addition, penicillin allergy can resolve over time. Only about 20% of people allergic to penicillin will remain allergic 10 years later.
It is important to know if you are truly allergic to penicillin, because it is a valuable antibiotic for a variety of common illnesses such as strep throat, sinus infections, pneumonia, dental procedures and group B strep therapy for pregnant women in labor. Physicians are forced to use second line antibiotics in patients reporting penicillin allergy that may be more expensive, less effective or have more side effects than penicillin.
The good news is that there is a reliable and safe method the providers at The Allergy & Asthma Center utilize to test for penicillin allergy. This testing involves skin testing with penicillin proteins underneath the skin to look for a reaction. If skin testing is negative, the patient is then given penicillin orally in the and observed in the office. If you believe you have a penicillin allergy, it is important to see a board certified allergist. Your allergist will take a detailed history and determine if testing is appropriate to confirm you are allergic. Please feel free to schedule an appointment with us for a drug allergy evaluation today.