Pharmacy Phriday #2: Penicillin and Cephalosporin Allergies - The Emergency Medical Minute

Pharmacy Phriday #2: Penicillin and Cephalosporin Allergies

The penicillin and cephalosporin drug classes include many first line drug options for infectious disease although high rates of self-reported allergies may cause physicians to seek alternative options. In part two of our dive into antibiotics use for infectious disease, listen as Dr. Rachael Duncan, Emergency Medicine Clinical Pharmacist, addresses the need to investigate the validity of these reported allergies and their severity to avoid us elf riskier alternatives, like fluoroquinolones. Cross-reactivity between cephalosporins is most often dictated by side chain of cephalosporins rather than the beta-lactam ring. Refer to the chart included for cross-reactivity tips.


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  2. Romano A, Gueant-Rodriguez RM, Viola M, Pettinato R, Gueant JL. Cross-reactivity and tolerability of cephalosporins in patients with immediate hypersensitivity to penicillins. Ann Intern Med 2004; 141(1): 16-22.
  3. Macy E, Contreras R. Health care use and serious infection prevalence associated with penicillin “allergy” in hospitalized patients: A cohort study. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2014; 133(3): 790-6

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