Tackling inpatient penicillin allergies: Assessing tools for antimicrobial stewardship


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Abstract

BackgroundReported penicillin allergy rarely reflects penicillin intolerance. Failure to address inpatient penicillin allergies results in more broad-spectrum antibiotic use, treatment failures, and adverse drug events.ObjectiveWe aimed to determine the optimal approach to penicillin allergies among medical inpatients.MethodsWe evaluated internal medicine inpatients reporting penicillin allergy in 3 periods: (1) standard of care (SOC), (2) penicillin skin testing (ST), and (3) computerized guideline application with decision support (APP). The primary outcome was use of a penicillin or cephalosporin, comparing interventions to SOC using multivariable logistic regression.ResultsThere were 625 patients: SOC, 148; ST, 278; and APP, 199. Of 278 ST patients, 179 (64%) were skin test eligible; 43 (24%) received testing and none were allergic. In the APP period, there were 292 unique Web site views; 112 users (38%) completed clinical decision support. Although ST period patients did not have increased odds of penicillin or cephalosporin use overall (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.3; 95% CI, 0.8-2.0), we observed significant increased odds of penicillin or cephalosporin use overall in the APP period (aOR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.1-2.9) and in a per-protocol analysis of the skin tested subset (aOR, 5.7; 95% CI, 2.6-12.5).ConclusionsBoth APP and ST—when completed—increased the use of penicillin and cephalosporin antibiotics among inpatients reporting penicillin allergy. While the skin tested subset showed an almost 6-fold impact, the computerized guideline significantly increased penicillin or cephalosporin use overall nearly 2-fold and was readily implemented.

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