Amoxicillin oral provocation challenge in a primary care clinic: a descriptive analysis
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BACKGROUND: Penicillin is the most frequently reported drug allergen; however, most of these allergies are not true allergies and do not justify the prescription of alternative, less effective and more expensive antibiotic drugs. We aimed to show that patients at low risk of amoxicillin allergy can safely and efficiently undergo oral provocation challenge (OPC) by their primary care physician. METHODS: In this descriptive analysis, we conducted a retrospective chart review of all primary care patients who had undergone OPC from November 2017 to October 2019 in the Amoxicillin Allergy Clinic at the North Perth Family Health Team, Listowel, Ontario. Eligibility for OPC among patients 18 months and older was determined through review of a self-reported patient intake form asking about symptoms, onset, duration, history and family history of allergic reactions, as well as the patient's electronic medical record. Patients were considered to be at low risk of true penicillin allergy if there was no history of anaphylaxis or severe cutaneous reactions. Those with low-risk allergic reactions returned for testing with an OPC to amoxicillin. We collected data on clinical characteristics, antibiotic exposure, parental drug allergy, response to OPC and wait time from referral. We used t tests to describe and compare these variables. Our primary outcome was reaction to OPC by severity as categorized by the World Allergy Organization grading system. Our secondary outcome was the time from referral to completed testing. RESULTS: In total, we included 99 patients (mean age 28.3, standard deviation [SD] 21.2 yr); 72 (73%) were female. Of those tested, 97% (n = 96) completed the OPC with no reaction, 3% (n = 3) had mild immediate reactions, and no serious immediate reactions developed. Mean wait time to testing was 59.0 (SD 69.8) days, with a median (interquartile range) of 39.5 (13.5-70.0) days. INTERPRETATION: Oral provocation challenge presents a safe and accessible opportunity for primary care providers to address erroneous allergy labels to penicillin and related drugs within the primary care office setting. There could be positive public health implications if OPC to penicillin drugs is implemented in primary care.
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