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Patients often assume wrongly that they are allergic to penicillin

A team of researchers who reviewed medical literature on the accuracy of penicillin allergies has come out with a startling expose!!!!

Nearly 80% of people who claim that they are allergic to penicillin actually are under the misconception that they are allergic to the drug.

The researchers led by Dr. Alan R. Salkind, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, say that many patients fail to use these antibiotics because they misunderstand simple reactions to be drug allergies.

Penicillin and penicillin-like antibiotic drugs are often preferable to alternative antibiotics, Salkind noted, because they are cheaper than many other drugs and less likely to induce side effects or cause drug resistance. The best way out of this problem is to perform an on the spot skin test to check if the patient is actually hypersensitive to penicillin, the scientists say.

To reach these conclusions, the researchers conducted a review of 14 prior studies conducted in the last four decades.

They found that 80% to 90% of patients who reported they were allergic to penicillin, based on a recollected history of a reaction to the antibiotic, were incorrect when assessed by skin allergy testing.

Salkind said that only around 2% to 5% of the general population has a true allergy to penicillin. These allergic reactions, which can be measured by the presence of antibodies in the body, may cause such symptoms as breaking out in severe rashes and breathlessness.

However if a person develops rashes or an upset stomach three days after taking penicillin injections then it is very unlikely to be a drug hypersensitivity reaction. The eruptions could be due to the underlying disease itself for which penicillin was prescribed or could be because of an unrelated coincidental cause.

So the next time someone says they have penicillin allergy, make sure to do a simple skin test beca use jumping to conclusions!!
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