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November 12, 1955

SKIN TESTING FOR PENICILLIN SENSITIVITY

JAMA. 1955;159(11):1148. doi:10.1001/jama.1955.02960280070020

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Abstract

To the Editor:—  In the article "Feasibility of Skin Testing for Penicillin Sensitivity" published in The Journal, Sept. 17, 1955, page 191, Berger and Eisen present interesting data but unfortunately come to the wrong conclusion. They state that skin testing for penicillin sensitivity is unreliable and should be discarded, yet their patient in case 1 promptly developed anaphylactic shock after a skin test with 20 units of procaine penicillin. If such a penicillin-sensitive patient had not been tested but given a therapeutic dose of penicillin, which would be at least 15,000 times greater than the test dose used, a fatal reaction would most likely have resulted. This case alone is a concrete example of the value of skin testing for penicillin sensitivity. A careful history of previous sensitivity to penicillin is not the panacea for preventing reactions, as the authors indicate. Many patients have developed shock reactions as their first

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