US antibiotic stewardship and penicillin allergy

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The purpose of this review is to improve otolaryngologists’ antibiotic stewardship by detailing current approaches to penicillin allergy.

Recent findings

Although up to 15% of hospitalized patients in the United States have a penicillin allergy recorded on their charts, fewer than 10% of these have a true penicillin allergy.

Summary

Using a combination of a detailed allergy history, skin testing and graded-dose administration, many patients whose charts say ‘penicillin-allergic’ can safely be treated with penicillin and cross-reacting antibiotics. This permits use of narrower-spectrum antibiotics and saves money.

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