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Practical management of antibiotic allergy in adults
  1. Andrew McLean-Tooke1,
  2. Catherine Aldridge2,
  3. Catherine Stroud3,
  4. Gavin P Spickett3
  1. 1Department of Immunology, Fremantle Hospital and PathWest Laboratory Medicine, Perth, Australia
  2. 2Department of Microbiology, University Hospital of North Durham, Durham, UK
  3. 3Regional Department of Immunology, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Andrew McLean-Tooke, Fremantle Hospital, Department of Immunology, Fremantle 6569, Australia; andymctooke{at}


This review looks at the main issues around immediate hypersensitivity and the role and limitations of testing. The majority of literature on antibiotic hypersensitivity relates to β-lactam antibiotics, mainly because of the heavy usage of this class of drugs. Concerns around cross-reactivity always worry clinicians, particularly in the emergency situation. Reasonable data now exist in relation to β-lactam antibiotics and derivatives, which enable appropriate risk management to be undertaken. The available literature for other classes of antibiotics is also discussed.

  • Drug hypersensitivity
  • antibiotic allergy
  • β-lacatam hypersensitivity
  • algorithms
  • anaphylactic reactions
  • antibiotics
  • anaphylactic reactions
  • antibiotics

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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