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Management of tolerance induction in patients with suspected penicillin allergy--a case study.

Author(s): Wessbecher R, Stangl S

Affiliation(s): Department of Dermatology, Unit for Allergy and Environment, University Hospital Hamburg Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany. Dr.med.Robert.Wessbecher@drv-bund.de

Publication date & source: 2009-05, Int J Dermatol., 48(5):488-91.

Publication type: Case Reports

BACKGROUND: In some diseases penicillin is the treatment of choice. Case studies have shown a good response for the treatment of circumscribed scleroderma or scleroderma adultorum of Buschke. A suspected allergy to penicillin in a patient's history may limit this helpful therapy option. Allergy testing is often inconclusive. If indicated, tolerance induction leading to therapy with penicillin can be carried out. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We present two patients with circumscribed sclerosis and scleredema Buschke, who had a suspected allergy to penicillin. Due to limited therapy options and in insufficient response to other therapeutics, the decision for a tolerance induction with penicillin was made. Penicillin was successfully administered by following a scheme of tolerance induction starting with oral doses and ending with high doses of intravenous penicillin G. RESULTS: In both cases, penicillin G, administered over a period of three weeks, was well tolerated up to the high dose of 3 x 10 Mega IU/day. Substantial clinical improvement was achieved in all cases without any complications. CONCLUSION: This case study demonstrates that a suspected allergy to penicillin does not preclude an eventual treatment with this valuable drug. Allergy testing should routinely be carried out first. If suspicion of an allergy persists, tolerance induction can be attempted according to the new scheme described here. Starting with a careful, initial oral dose regimen, treatment can be continued with an increasing intravenous dose followed by maintenance therapy with high-dose penicillin G. It should be clear that this policy is only restricted for patients who are at risk for a hypersensitivity to penicillin, i.e., because of a clinical manifested incompatibility in the past.

Page last updated: 2009-10-20

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