We recommend penicillin allergy testing to anyone who has a history of an allergic reaction to a penicillin antibiotic. Testing is unnecessary if there is no past history of a penicillin reaction.
Many patients tell us they had reactions as children, however most patients lose their penicillin allergy after 10 years, so it's best to get tested to find out for sure.
Penicillin testing is a three-step process that takes place in one appointment:
1) A skin test is performed in which the skin is pricked with penicillin and the reaction measured.
2) If the skin test is negative, the provider may proceed with intradermal testing, which involves a few small injections just under the skin's surface.
3) Your provider may then decide to give you an oral challenge. This involves being given a dose of penicillin while under observation.
Many studies have documented the accuracy and sensitivity of skin tests for penicillin allergy. Almost all patients who have negative skin tests are able to take penicillin without experiencing a reaction.
It is generally thought that no more than one to two percent of patients (and perhaps even less) with a negative test will experience a reaction to penicillin.
It's best to avoid all antihistamines, including nasal sprays and eye drops, for five days before testing.
Our team will contact you before testing to learn what drug(s) should be stopped,and for how long.