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November 21, 1990

Anaphylaxis Following Ingestion of a Psyllium-Containing Cereal

JAMA. 1990;264(19):2534-2536. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450190066030

Recently, psyllium hydrophilic mucilloid, a bulk-forming laxative, has been added to breakfast cereals for cholesterol-lowering effects. We report a case of a 60-year-old woman with no prior history of psyllium ingestion who developed anaphylactic symptoms after eating a psyllium-containing cereal. Her only previous exposure was dispensing a psyllium-containing laxative as a nurse. Immunoglobulin E—mediated sensitization was documented by skin testing and basophil histamine release. The literature is reviewed regarding allergic reactions to psyllium. Health care workers and pharmaceutical workers handling psyllium may be at increased risk due to sensitization from inhalation. Physicians and consumers should be aware of potential serious reactions from eating psyllium-containing cereals even without prior history of ingestion of psyllium.

(JAMA. 1990;264:2534-2536)