Penicillin Allergies Linked to Longer Hospital Stays, More HAIs

Patients with penicillin allergies may experience longer lengths of stay and are at a higher risk for developing healthcare-associated infections, according to a study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Researchers analyzed data from Kaiser Foundation hospitals on patients admitted between 2010 and 2012. They found patients with a penicillin allergy averaged 0.59 more inpatient hospital days than patients in the control group.

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Additionally, patients with penicillin allergies were treated with antibiotics in place of penicillin, most notably fluoroquinolones, clindamycin and vancomycin, which are more often associated with HAIs like Clostridium difficile, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, according to the study.

Patients allergic to penicillin had a 23.4 percent higher incidence of C. diff, 14.1 percent higher incidence of MRSA and 30.1 percent higher incidence of VRE than control patients.

Researchers suggest a penicillin allergy "is not a benign finding at hospital admission," according to the study.

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