Premedication Protocols to Prevent Hypersensitivity Reactions to Chemotherapy: a Literature Review

Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2022 Jun;62(3):534-547. doi: 10.1007/s12016-022-08932-2. Epub 2022 Mar 8.


Hypersensitivity reactions (HSRs) to chemotherapy may prevent patients from receiving the most effective therapy. This review was undertaken to identify evidence-based preventive premedication strategies that reduce the likelihood of HSR in the first instance and improve the safety of subsequent infusions in patients who have demonstrated HSR to a certain class of chemotherapy. PubMed was searched until October 2021 using the key words: "hypersensitivity to chemotherapeutic drugs," "hypersensitivity to antineoplastic agents," "taxanes hypersensitivity," "platinum compound hypersensitivity," "premedication," "dexamethasone," "prednisone," "hydrocortisone," "antihistamine," "diphenhydramine," "cetirizine," "famotidine," "meperidine," "aspirin," "ibuprofen," and "montelukast." The search was restricted to articles published in English. A total of 73 abstracts were selected for inclusion in the review. Most premedication regimens have been derived empirically rather than determined through randomized trials. Based on the available evidence, we provide an update on likely HSR mechanisms and a practical guide for classifying systemic HSR. The evidence indicates that a combination of prevention strategies using newer antihistamines, H2 antagonists, leukotriene receptor antagonists, and corticosteroids and other interventions used judiciously reduces the occurrence and severity of HSR and improves safety.

Keywords: Allergy; Antihistamine; Chemotherapy; Dexamethasone; Hypersensitivity reaction; Premedication; Taxane.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Hypersensitivity* / diagnosis
  • Drug Hypersensitivity* / etiology
  • Drug Hypersensitivity* / prevention & control
  • Histamine Antagonists
  • Humans
  • Paclitaxel* / adverse effects
  • Premedication / methods
  • Taxoids


  • Histamine Antagonists
  • Taxoids
  • Paclitaxel