Broaching the Subject of Antibiotic Allergy Challenges with Patients

A clinician has a novel approach to patient conversations around this topic to determine if they want to assess if their penicillin allergies truly present a problem for treatment.


When patients inform their clinicians that they have a penicillin allergy, frequently no follow-up is done in terms of questioning the severity of it or even the possibility a patient may have outgrown it. It is usually just noted in the patient's medical record.

Bruce M. Jones, PharmD, FIDSA, BCPS, infectious diseases clinical pharmacy specialist at St. Joseph's/Candler Health System in Savannah, GA, says this is a missed opportunity.

“One of the first things I say [to patients with penicillin allergies] is, ‘you are on an antibiotic, and it’s my job to get you on the best antibiotic,’” Jones stated. “And the penicillin allergy is what is preventing that for this patient.”

He performs a significiant amount of research around penicillin allergies, and when appropriate, Jones will consult with inpatients on possibly doing penicillin graded challenges. He tries to provide them with all the information to help them make decisions about their care, especially as it pertains to their antibiotic treatment.

He says that after a consultation, they can remove the patient's penicillin allergy approximately 25% of the time.

Contagion has begun a short series of video interviews to discuss skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs), and Jones sat down in a far-ranging interview to discuss criteria and decisions around whether SSTIs should be treated as inpatient or outpatient, what his institution is experiencing, and his perspective on the therapy pipeline.

In this episode, Jones discusses the grading process and consulting patients about their allergies.

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