True penicillin allergy ‘rare’

Most patients who have a history of penicillin allergy are not really allergic and should be re-evaluated before they are prescribed a replacement drug regimen, argue Australian infectious disease experts.

The vast majority of these patients will turn out not to be allergic and can be safely treated with penicillin, they say, adding that true penicillin allergy is rare, affecting only 1% of the general population.

Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the authors say that retesting those thought to be allergic to the drug will help to avoid the use of alternative antibiotics