National Penicillin Allergy Day is Sept. 28. Now is a great time to raise awareness about penicillin allergy and its potential impact on personal and public health. Sept. 28 is noteworthy, as it is the anniversary of the day penicillin was discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming in 1928.
As allergy specialists, you probably already know the statistics – allergy to penicillin is the most commonly reported drug allergy and nine out of 10 patients reporting as penicillin allergic are not truly allergic. Over-reporting can lead to a greater use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, higher costs for patients and increased drug resistance. Antibiotic resistance is an important, growing threat to public health in the United States and globally.
Allergy experts are in a unique to position to help raise awareness about the issue of penicillin allergy. What can you do? The College’s Penicillin Toolkit has everything you need to conduct penicillin allergy testing in your practice, including insurance guidelines, worksheets and consent forms. It also includes information for patients and primary care physicians to help them understand the importance of seeing an allergist for penicillin allergy testing.
It’s important for your patients and community to know that it’s common for people to believe they are penicillin-allergic, although they have never been tested. Reach out to them in your practice newsletter and with social media posts. You can also encourage patients who test negative to penicillin allergy to follow up with their pharmacist and other HCPs to make sure the penicillin allergy label has been removed everywhere it needs to be.