Multinational experience with hypersensitivity drug reactions in Latin America

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2014 Sep;113(3):282-9. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2014.06.019. Epub 2014 Jul 24.


Background: Epidemiologic drug allergy data from Latin America are scarce, and there are no studies on specific procedures focusing on this topic in Latin America.

Objective: To assess the clinical characteristics and management of hypersensitivity drug reactions in different Latin American countries.

Methods: An European Network of Drug Allergy questionnaire survey was implemented in 22 allergy units in 11 Latin American countries to report on consecutive patients who presented with a suspected hypersensitivity drug reaction. Each unit used its own protocols to investigate patients.

Results: Included were 868 hypersensitivity drug reactions in 862 patients (71% of adults and elderly patients were women and 51% of children were girls, P = .0001). Children presented with less severe reactions than adults and elderly patients (P < .0001). Urticaria and angioedema accounted for the most frequent clinical presentations (71%), whereas anaphylaxis was present in 27.3% of cases. There were no deaths reported. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (52.3%), β-lactam antibiotics (13.8%), and other antibiotics (10.1%) were the drugs used most frequently. Skin prick tests (16.7%) and provocation tests (34.2%) were the study procedures most commonly used. A large proportion of patients were treated in the emergency department (62%) with antihistamines (68%) and/or corticosteroids (53%). Only 22.8% of patients presenting with anaphylaxis received epinephrine.

Conclusion: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics were the drugs used in at least 75% of patients. More than half the reactions were treated in the emergency department, whereas epinephrine was administered in fewer than 25% of patients with anaphylaxis. Dissemination of guidelines for anaphylaxis among primary and emergency department physicians should be encouraged.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Infant
  • Latin America / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Young Adult