A safe protocol for rapid desensitization in patients with cystic fibrosis and antibiotic hypersensitivity

J Cyst Fibros. 2009 Dec;8(6):418-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jcf.2009.08.002. Epub 2009 Sep 8.


Background: CF patients often demonstrate hypersensitivity to one or multiple antibiotics due to frequent and repeated exposures. Attempts at antibiotic desensitization in this population are historically complicated by higher reaction rates, failure to complete the procedure and consequent withholding of first-line therapy. This study evaluates the outcomes of a rapid desensitization protocol developed at our institution.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 15 patients undergoing 52 rapid antibiotic desensitizations at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Children's Hospital Boston utilizing our protocol.

Results: Mean FEV1 % predicted was 44.1 (SD 16.5), with two patients at <30% and one patient desensitized during bilateral lung transplantation. Adverse reactions during desensitization occurred in 13.4%, and most were mild. 100% of patients completed the protocol and ultimately tolerated subsequent full-strength antibiotic courses.

Conclusions: CF patients with antibiotic hypersensitivity can safely receive first-line antibiotics via our rapid desensitization protocol, including those with severe obstructive lung disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / immunology
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Desensitization, Immunologic / methods*
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents