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Research Letter
June 29, 2020

Association Between Penicillin Allergy Documentation and Antibiotic Use

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
  • 2The Mongan Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
  • 3Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 4Vizient Inc, Irving, Texas
  • 5Department of Pharmacy, University of Wisconsin Health, Madison
  • 6Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, New Jersey
  • 7Department of Pharmacy, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Illinois
  • 8Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pathology and Internal Medicine, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas
  • 9Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
JAMA Intern Med. Published online June 29, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.2227

Approximately half of hospitalized patients receive antibiotics, and more than 10% of these patients have a penicillin allergy documented in the medical record.1 Hospitalized patients with ongoing infections who report an allergy to penicillin have an increased risk of adverse drug events, including Clostridioides difficile infection, when not treated with a β-lactam antibiotic.2 Allergy assessment with or without diagnostic testing disproves more than 90% of documented penicillin allergies.1

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