Penicillin allergy misconceptions can increase risk of post-operative infections

penicillin allergy misconceptions can increase risk of post operative infections

Surgical patients with penicillin allergy are 50% more prone to face post-operative infections than their counterparts with no drug allergy, a new study suggested.

A research team from Massachusetts General Hospital reported that higher surgical-site infection rate could be a result of alternative antibiotics use. Sometimes, it’s just people’s misconception that they are allergic to penicillin, which eventually, put them on higher risk of acquiring post-operative infections, as indicated by the findings of the study. The lead author of the study, Dr. Kimberly Blumenthal, one of the officers at the division of rheumatology, allergy and immunology said, “we already know that more than 95 percent of patients who believe they have penicillin allergy can actually tolerate the drug.”

According to the research, 900 patients out of 8400 from the year 2010 to 2014, had been recorded as allergic to penicillin. Over 200 patients were found to have some type of surgical site infections that consisted of 2.6% with no known penicillin allergy and 3.5% of patients, who believed they were allergic to the drug and therefore didn’t receive it.

In a hospital news release, Dr. Blumenthal stated that penicillin evaluation prior to surgery could effectively decrease surgical site infection. Surgical infection could result in serious complications that can be even fatal.


The research advises surgical patients, who believe that they are allergic to penicillin, to undergo a fresh allergy evaluation before being operated.

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