Background: Reported penicillin allergy rarely reflects penicillin intolerance. Failure to address inpatient penicillin allergies results in more broad-spectrum antibiotic use, treatment failures, and adverse drug events.
Objective: We aimed to determine the optimal approach to penicillin allergies among medical inpatients.
Methods: We evaluated internal medicine inpatients reporting penicillin allergy in 3 periods: (1) standard of care (SOC), (2) penicillin skin testing (ST), and (3) computerized guideline application with decision support (APP). The primary outcome was use of a penicillin or cephalosporin, comparing interventions to SOC using multivariable logistic regression.
Results: There were 625 patients: SOC, 148; ST, 278; and APP, 199. Of 278 ST patients, 179 (64%) were skin test eligible; 43 (24%) received testing and none were allergic. In the APP period, there were 292 unique Web site views; 112 users (38%) completed clinical decision support. Although ST period patients did not have increased odds of penicillin or cephalosporin use overall (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.3; 95% CI, 0.8-2.0), we observed significant increased odds of penicillin or cephalosporin use overall in the APP period (aOR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.1-2.9) and in a per-protocol analysis of the skin tested subset (aOR, 5.7; 95% CI, 2.6-12.5).
Conclusions: Both APP and ST-when completed-increased the use of penicillin and cephalosporin antibiotics among inpatients reporting penicillin allergy. While the skin tested subset showed an almost 6-fold impact, the computerized guideline significantly increased penicillin or cephalosporin use overall nearly 2-fold and was readily implemented.
Keywords: Stewardship; computerized guideline; decision support; skin test; test dose.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.