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Penicillin allergy link to resistant organisms

Thursday June 28th, 2018

Increasing awareness of penicillin allergy may be driving resistance as patients use other antibiotics as first-line treatment, researchers warn today.

These patients face increased risk of infection with drug-resistant organisms such as MRSA and C difficile, researchers found.

The findings, reported in The BMJ, led the researchers to call for “systematic” efforts to identify patients who are truly at risk from penicillin.

Sensitivity to the drug is reported by about 10% of patients – but 90% of these could safely take it, the researchers say.

The findings come from a study of a database of 11 million British patients. Some 64,000 were found to have documented penicillin allergy. These were compared with 237,000 other patients.

During six years of follow-up about 3,000 patients developed MRSA or C difficile.

Penicillin allergy was linked to a 69% increased risk of developing MRSA and a 26% increased risk of C difficile infection.

The researchers led by Kimberly Blumenthal, of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA, write: “Systematic efforts to confirm or rule out the presence of true penicillin allergy may be an important public health strategy to reduce the incidence of MRSA and C difficile.”

* A second study published today says that a programme of financial rewards has successfully reduced the number of GP antibiotic prescriptions.

Researchers at Imperial College, London, and Public Health England say that antibiotic prescriptions for respiratory tract infections fell by 3% after the introduction of the reward scheme for NHS commissioners.

Risk of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile in patients with a documented penicillin allergy: population-based matched. BMJ 28 June 2018. http://www.bmj.com/content/361/bmj.k2400

Sabine Bou-Antoun et al. Age-related decline in antibiotic prescribing for uncomplicated respiratory tract infections in primary care in England following the introduction of a national financial incentive (the Quality Premium) for health commissioners to reduce use of antibiotics in the community: an interrupted time series analysis. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 28 June 2018; doi: 10.1093/jac/dky237

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | North America | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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