Allergic to a Penicillin? Don't Be So Sure.....

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    Jun 04, 2015 9:03 PM GMT
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    I've been allergic to Penicillin for as long as I can remember. Apparently I had a severe reaction as a child so my mother told me to always inform my doctors I was allergic to it.

    Over the years, there have been times where my doctor needed to give me Penicillin but couldn't. For example, once I had an MRSA infection from a motorcycle injury. The doctor told me he couldn't guarantee the substitute antibiotic would cure it and that I could possibly lose my big toe where the infection was. icon_eek.gif

    I kept hearing that people often outgrow drug allergies as adults so today I went in for what is known as a "drug challenge." You have to find an allergist who does drug testing as not all allergist do it.

    First, she took my history with the drug and since this reaction happened when I was a child that's really all the information I could provide. Then on one arm, she made a small incision with saline and another with histamine to make sure I reacted properly. Then on the other arm, she gave me saline with one of the tiny razors and Penicillin with the other. No reaction. Then she brought in 500mgs of Penicillin in tablet form in a cup. She broke one of the tablets in pieces and had me chew the smallest piece up and put it under my tongue. This went on until it was all consumed.

    The entire procedure took an hour and a half. It was a frightening experience to put something i've been told my whole life would kill me into my mouth....especially in such larges doses! But now I feel so liberated.

    I just thought I would post this here in case any of you have this problem. She told me very few people take the time to do this test because no one ever thinks about it until they're sick.
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    Jun 04, 2015 10:57 PM GMT
    Its good that you went to an allergist. A lot of allergies are reported when they sometimes don't need to be. I think a lot of people confuse an Allergy with a Negative Side effect.

    I'm not a pharmacist, rather a pharmacy technician, and I get told by patients practically all the time that they are allergic to penicillin. Sometimes they go into details about their "allergies". The most common things I've heard is that it causes a patient to have an upset-stomach or diarrhea.

    Those symptoms don't typically fall into the category of how a true allergy presents itself. I'm not saying the possibility of an allergy isn't there...but the side effects of penicillin clearly state those symptoms. Best to talk to your Pharmacist or Doctor regarding questions about allergies/side effects/ etc.

    Heres hoping that you are not allergic to Penicillin icon_smile.gif


    P.S
    Hives, and Swelling, and slipping into anaphylaxis are good indicators an allergy is present though. If you think you are experiencing something life threatening, call for help right away.
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    Jun 05, 2015 4:26 AM GMT
    From what I was told, I had a pretty bad reaction when I was a kid. My allergist said that if you don't take it for several years, you will probably stop being allergic to it because your body will become less sensitive to it. And no.....I am NOT allergic to Penicillin anymore! icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jun 05, 2015 5:45 AM GMT
    Radd saidFrom what I was told, I had a pretty bad reaction when I was a kid. My allergist said that if you don't take it for several years, you will probably stop being allergic to it because your body will become less sensitive to it. And no.....I am NOT allergic to Penicillin anymore! icon_biggrin.gif



    Wow, I have the same supposed allergy to Penicillin. Not sure what mine was as a kid but I do remember getting severe hives. I was always told by parents about this allergy. What is the specific name of this test so I can look this up? One of my doctors prescribed a Penicillin base drug a few years ago and CVS pharmacy caught it cause I have the allergy on file, they called my doctor and he said something about the amount or percent of Penicillin was too weak to be concerned about. So I took the drug and I did not have any problem taking it. You maybe right that after years of not taking it, I no longer am allergic to it. I would still like to find out with this test if I could now take full doses of it.

    As a kid, my sister was extremely allergic to Erythromycin, so much so she wore a medial alert bracelet for years


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    Jun 05, 2015 4:24 PM GMT
    ELNathB said
    Radd saidFrom what I was told, I had a pretty bad reaction when I was a kid. My allergist said that if you don't take it for several years, you will probably stop being allergic to it because your body will become less sensitive to it. And no.....I am NOT allergic to Penicillin anymore! icon_biggrin.gif



    Wow, I have the same supposed allergy to Penicillin. Not sure what mine was as a kid but I do remember getting severe hives. I was always told by parents about this allergy. What is the specific name of this test so I can look this up? One of my doctors prescribed a Penicillin base drug a few years ago and CVS pharmacy caught it cause I have the allergy on file, they called my doctor and he said something about the amount or percent of Penicillin was too weak to be concerned about. So I took the drug and I did not have any problem taking it. You maybe right that after years of not taking it, I no longer am allergic to it. I would still like to find out with this test if I could now take full doses of it.

    As a kid, my sister was extremely allergic to Erythromycin, so much so she wore a medial alert bracelet for years



    Considering your age, if you haven't had the drug in all these years, you're most likely not allergic to it anymore. Every year that passes without you having the drug, you get less and less likely to be allergic to it.

    The test is called a "Drug Challenge." Think Cinnamon Challenge without the vomiting. icon_biggrin.gif

    I did a quick Google search and came up with several in the Los Angeles area. This one for example has three different locations but I'm sure there are many places that do it there. Just remember that all allergists do not do drug testing.

    Allergy Asthma Care Center
    11500 W. Olympic Blvd., Ste 630
    Los Angeles, CA 90064
    Tel. (310) 393-1550

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    Jun 05, 2015 5:16 PM GMT
    Yes, allergies do come and go with age. Best to see an allergist to see what's up.
  • venue35

    Posts: 4644

    Jun 06, 2015 12:49 PM GMT
    I think penicillin is the only cure for syphilis.
    What happens if someone has syphilis but they can't get the penicillin shots?? Do they die??
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    Jun 06, 2015 1:18 PM GMT
    My doctors always mention that I'm allergic to penicillin when they're about to prescribe me with something. I always respond with "apparently..." because I don't remember any allergic reaction episodes. Guess it wouldn't hurt to get a test done in case I do need it some day and there's no alternative available.icon_confused.gif
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    Jun 07, 2015 2:58 AM GMT
    new_forest_guy saidMy doctors always mention that I'm allergic to penicillin when they're about to prescribe me with something. I always respond with "apparently..." because I don't remember any allergic reaction episodes. Guess it wouldn't hurt to get a test done in case I do need it some day and there's no alternative available.icon_confused.gif


    Exactly. It's quick and easy and the day will come where you wish you could take it. My test took an hour and a half only because I insisted on taking smaller pieces of the pill. icon_redface.gif