According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 percent of U.S. patients report having had allergic reactions to a penicillin-class antibiotic. However, less than 1 percent of the population experience true IgE-mediated reactions, and 80 percent those who do lose their sensitivity after 10 years. The alternatives to penicillins are often broad-spectrum antibiotics, and their use among patients not truly allergic to penicillins is associated with higher health care costs, higher risk of antibiotic resistance and suboptimal antibiotic therapy.
It’s important to correctly identify those who are not actually penicillin-allergic to decrease unnecessary use of broad-spectrum antibiotics. For more information on reported penicillin allergies, read more and share this factsheet from the CDC. (Meg Kilcup)