Rev Esp Quimioter 2009;22(1):10-19

Multicenter national survey on infection management in patients with penicillin allergy

R. Serrano ,  J. A. Capdevila ,  J. Mensa y J. Barberán ,  R. Oltra


Introduction. Beta-lactam antibiotics are widely prescribed to treat many infections because of efficacy, spectrum and safety. Their use is limited in patients with resistant microbial agents and in those with a history of penicillin allergy (HPA) because of cross-reactivity risk. Accurate clinical assessment of possible HPA requires specialized resources not always available in clinical practice. We intended to get to know the opinion of Spanish physicians about frequency and methods of evaluation of the patients with HPA as well as the preferences in the use of antimicrobial alternatives for common infectious diseases in patients with HPA.

Methods. Multicentric cross-sectional descriptive study ran by the Infectious Diseases Study Group of the Spanish Society for Internal Medicine based on the accomplishment of a survey of 10 questions of opinion to specialist doctors who work in Spanish medical centers.

Results. A total of 311 doctors responded to the survey (92.2% Internal Medicine specialists) distributed by all the Spanish territory. An average of 10.7% of patients self-reported having HPA although only an average of 10.8 % of them gave documentation on the matter. Patients were sent for specific allergy tests in an average of 33.6 %. Desensitization treatments were performed in 4.3 % of cases. The preferences for alternative antibiotic therapy to beta-lactan widely varied according to the infectious picture and the communitarian or nosocomial origin, and they included quinolones, macrolides, glycopeptides, lincosamides, oxazolidinones and tigecycline.

Conclusions. Perception about frequency and evaluation of patients with HPA is very variable, but in more than half the cases it is above 10 % of the patients. Yet, only one third are sent for in-depth study for allergy confirmation, and less than 5% are desensitized. Nosocomial infections and the possibility of multiresistant bacteria make substantially difficult the management of patients with HPA.

Key words:Beta-lactam antibiotics. Hypersensibility. Drug allergies. Tigecycline. Desensitization treatment.   

Rev Esp Quimioter 2009;22(1):10-19 [pdf]