How to Define and Manage Low-Risk Drug Allergy Labels

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J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2024 May;12(5):1095-1106. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2024.03.021.


Risk stratification in drug allergy implies that specific risk categories (eg, low, moderate, and high) classify historical drug hypersensitivity reactions. These risk categories can be based on reaction phenotypic characteristics, the timing of the reaction and evaluation, the required reaction management, and individual characteristics. Although a multitude of frameworks have been described in the literature, particularly for penicillin allergy labels, there has yet to be a global consensus, and approaches continue to vary between allergy centers. Immune-mediated drug allergies can sometimes be confirmed using skin testing, but a negative drug challenge is required to demonstrate tolerance and remove the allergy from the electronic health record (“delabel” the allergy). Even for quintessential IgE-mediated drug allergy, penicillin allergy, recent data reveal that a direct oral challenge, without prior skin testing, is an appropriate diagnostic strategy in those who are considered low-risk. Drug allergy pathogenesis and clinical manifestations may vary depending on the culprit drug, and as such, the optimal approach should be based on risk stratification that considers individual patient and reaction characteristics, the likely hypersensitivity reaction phenotype, the drug class, and the patient’s clinical needs. This article will describe low-risk drug allergy labels, focusing on β-lactam and sulfonamide antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, iodinated contrast media, and common chemotherapeutics. This review will also address practical management approaches using currently available risk stratification and clinical decision tools.

PMID:38724164 | DOI:10.1016/j.jaip.2024.03.021