Patient perspectives on penicillin allergy and testing

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4 Scopus citations


Background: Most patients who report penicillin allergy are found to tolerate penicillin later in life. Few studies have examined patients' understanding and beliefs about penicillin allergy and testing. Evaluating patients' perspectives may help identify ways to improve patient education and increase testing to de-label those who can tolerate penicillin. Objective: To better understand patient perspectives on penicillin allergy testing and to identify whether patient characteristics and beliefs impact completion of testing. Methods: Patients who were visiting our allergy clinics and had documentation of a penicillin allergy in the electronic medical record (EMR) were approached to complete a survey with regard to their reaction history and knowledge and/or perspectives about penicillin allergy and testing. Eighty-eight patients completed the survey, and their medical records were reviewed to collect results of penicillin testing. Results: Fewer than half of the patients (45.5%) who had EMR-documented penicillin allergy reported awareness that testing for penicillin allergy is available. Awareness of penicillin allergy testing was significantly associated with completion of testing, whereas other patient characteristics, such as education, income, and distance to the hospital, were not. Patients who scheduled a return visit for testing at the time of their initial visit were significantly more likely to follow through with testing. Most patients were interested in penicillin testing. For patients who were not interested, the most frequently cited reason was fear of adverse effects of testing. Conclusion: Among the patients who carried a penicillin allergy label, those who were aware of penicillin allergy testing were more likely to complete testing, and ease of scheduling contributed to higher rates of testing completion. Fear about adverse effects from testing was the most reported barrier. Our findings emphasized the importance of increasing awareness of the availability and safety of penicillin testing through patient education and collaboration with other specialties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-69
Number of pages6
JournalAllergy and Asthma Proceedings
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022


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