Testing for antibiotic allergy

See also Penicillin allergy.

Systematic review – just 0.21% of unselected general paediatric outpatients exhibit positive antibiotic allergy tests, and only 6.8% of those with suspected allergy test positive.

No evidence to support using skin prick testing.  Intradermal testing has high false positive rate (64-67% for penicillin and clarithromycin). Caubet did oral provocation test (OPT) regardless of intradermal result to beta lactam, NNT=11 to avoid one OPT! [Ped All Immun 2015 ]. OPT reactions tend to be cutaneous and mild, usually more than 1hr post administration.

Where reaction is severe but non-immediate, eg Stevens Johnson syndrome, Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN), Drug Rash with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS), care needs to be taken with investigation, but studies have reported intradermal and OPT without unsafe adverse effects.  If reaction is anaphylaxis with first dose, then OPT contraindicated.

Wide variety in regimens.  Suggests 1-5 incremental doses of amoxicillin for mild reactions (timing not specified), giving cumulative dose appropriate to child, then continuing for 3 days.  Skin testing may be appropriate for severe reactions according to risk:benefit balance.  Check asthma well controlled, no antihistamines.  Warn that low risk of false negative result (absent co-factors) and low risk of re-sensitization.

Intravenous provocation only where PICU!

[Marrs, ArchDisChild 2015]

Macy article says any rash can have OPT! 5mm pos SPT for penicilloyl-polylysine has good negative predictive value for anaphylaxis with OPT. Recommends 5 days amoxicillin.

[Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 121(2018):523−529]

Mirakian article suggests SPT for all immediate reactions! Split dose challenges, with a week between first and second doses!

For non immediate reactions (1-72hrs), OPT confirmed in 59%, ID less than 40%.

6 studies showing that benign reactions (ie witnessed macpap or urticarial, no pain/burning, <50% skin surface etc) do not need skin testing.  Geneva have done more than 800 straight to OPT.  New EAACI guidelines in press.

If delay in reaction is unclear, assume immediate.  SPT vs amoxicillin, PPL, MDM.  IgE vs BPL.  0.04ml ID volume.  Note different reference ranges!  See Brockour, Allergy 13

Recent letter claimed OPT after skin test was “unnecessary, dangerous, unethical”!  But 30-100% false negatives!

Clavulanate allergy described.

Test sensitivity falls more than 4/12 after episode, ideally do within 4-6/52????

Basophil activation test using flow cytometry looking promising for IgE mediated drug reactions.  EAACI interest group working on Drug Allergy Passport.