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Penicillin allergy misdiagnosis common


Individuals in Oregon and across the United States may have been told that they have an allergy to penicillin, which means taking it again might cause a serious allergic reaction. However, some of these individuals may have either grown out of the allergy or were misdiagnosed to begin with. Since many individuals who have been informed they have an allergy to penicillin have not been tested since the initial reaction, an assertion of penicillin allergy may be false.

A study conducted by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology indicated findings that up to nine out of 10 individuals diagnosed with a penicillin allergy may be tolerant when administered the drug. This potentially affects between 25 and 50 million people. A medical professor from Vanderbilt University pointed out that one problem with those misdiagnosed with the allergy is that administering a different drug may be less effective and still result in side effects. It may cause the patient to not respond well or as quickly to the prescribed medicine when penicillin might have been the better drug of choice.

For individuals who have been diagnosed with a penicillin allergy, tests may be done to determine whether the allergy actually exists in that individual. A test in two steps, followed by a low oral dose of penicillin and monitored by a physician in some cases may provide the answer.

When a physician does not prescribe penicillin based on a patient history of allergy that has not been verified and results in worsening of symptoms, it might be considered failure to diagnose. An attorney may review the case with expert opinion and provide insight into whether or not a lawsuit might be applicable.