Limited Understanding of Penicllin Allergy Among Hospitalists

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About half of respondents were unfamiliar with cross-reactivity rates for penicillin and other antibiotics.
About half of respondents were unfamiliar with cross-reactivity rates for penicillin and other antibiotics.

HealthDay News -- According to a study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, inpatient hospital practitioners often have a limited understanding of the management of patients with a history of penicillin allergy.

Mary Staicu, PharmD, from Rochester General Hospital in New York, and colleagues distributed an electronic survey to attending physicians, residents, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants practicing adult inpatient medicine. Completed surveys were analyzed from 276 practitioners.

Most of the respondents were attending physicians (45%) with more than 10 years of experience (53%). The researchers found that about half the respondents were unfamiliar with the cross-reactivity rates between penicillin and cephalosporin, carbapenem, and monobactam antibiotics (46, 42, and 48%, respectively). 

Only 41 and 19% of respondents appropriately considered penicillin skin testing and temporary induction of drug tolerance as the leading antibiotic management plans, respectively, in case vignettes. In clinical scenarios, respondents acknowledged the need for allergy/immunology consultation, but 86% reported that they never consult an allergist or immunologist, or do so only once a year. Pharmacists had a better understanding of penicillin allergy and antibiotic cross-reactivity overall (P<.05).

"There is an overall limited understanding of the management of patients with a history of penicillin allergy in the hospital setting, where collaborative efforts between allergy and non-allergy health care practitioners are sparse," the authors write.

Reference

Staicu ML, et al. "A Survey Of Inpatient Practitioner Knowledge Of Penicillin Allergy At 2 Community Teaching Hospitals." Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2017.04.023 [Epub ahead of print]

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