Research says skin tests to predict allergies to antibiotics are ineffective

A new study from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal has found skin tests used to predict allergies to amoxicillin are ineffective.

The research team leading the study examined 818 children who presented with a rash due to suspected amoxicillin allergy from March 2012 to April 2015. All of the children then received a provocation or challenge test, or PC test, which involves gradually introducing a suspected allergen to the patient.

The researchers found 94.1 percent of the children were tolerant to the graded PC for amoxicillin. Of all the participants, only 17 had an immediate positive reaction to amoxicillin, and only one within this group had a positive skin test. Ultimately, they found that similar to many antibiotics, skin tests can have a high false-negative rate. Thirty one had non-immediate reactions developing more than one hour after challenge.

"Our study suggests that skin tests are essentially useless as diagnostic tests, and that we should go directly to the graded provocation test that is highly sensitive and specific," said Moshe Ben-Shoshan, MD. "This is a game changer in the way physicians assess amoxicillin allergy in children given the fact that skin tests are still the recommended screening method in hospitals."



More articles on antibiotics:
For those with chronic Lyme disease, long-term antibiotic treatment is not the answer
Scientists reveal how to make antibiotics stronger against drug-resistant bacteria
Nearly half of skin infection patients suffer secondary infections due to poor antibiotic adherence

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