Practical management of antibiotic allergy in adults

J Clin Pathol. 2011 Mar;64(3):192-9. doi: 10.1136/jcp.2010.077289. Epub 2010 Dec 20.


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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects*
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / therapy
  • Humans
  • Skin Tests / methods
  • beta-Lactams / adverse effects


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • beta-Lactams