Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Original research
Mild to moderate hypersensitivity reactions to beta-lactams in children: a single-centre retrospective review
  1. Leticia Vila1,
  2. Vanesa Garcia1,
  3. Oihana Martinez Azcona2,
  4. Loreley Pineiro2,
  5. Angela Meijide3,
  6. Vanesa Balboa4
  1. 1 Complexo Hospitalario Universitario A Coruna, A Coruna, Spain
  2. 2 Pediatrics, Complexo Hospitalario Universitario A Coruna, A Coruna, Spain
  3. 3 Allergy, Complexo Hospitalario Universitario A Coruna, A Coruna, Spain
  4. 4 Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Complexo Hospitalario Universitario A Coruna, A Coruna, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Leticia Vila; leticiavila{at}


Objective Beta-lactam (BL) antibiotics are the most reported drugs in hypersensitivity reactions in children. More than 90% of these children tolerate the suspected drug after diagnostic work-up. Skin tests (STs) show low sensitivity. Our aim was to assess the performance of drug provocation tests (DPTs) without previous ST in mild and moderate delayed reactions and to propose a new DPT protocol.

Design of the study Charts from 213 children under 15 years of age referred for suspected BL allergy from 2011 to 1013 were reviewed. Prick, intradermal and patch tests were performed with major determinant penicilloyl-polylysine, minor determinant mixture, amoxicillin (AMX), cefuroxime, penicillin G and AMX–clavulamate. Children with negative skin tests underwent DPT. After an initial full dose of antibiotic, DPT was carried on for 3 days at home in patients reacting within the first 3 days of treatment. If the reaction took place from day 4 on of treatment, patients took the antibiotic for 5 days.

Results We included 108 girls and 105 boys. Mean age at the time of reaction was 3.66±3.06 years. 195 patients (91.5%) reacted to one BL. 154 reactions (67.2%) were non-immediate. Mild to moderate skin manifestations were most frequently reported. AMX–clavulanate was the most frequently involved (63.4%). DPT confirmed the diagnosis of drug hypersensitivity in 17 (7.3%) cases. These 17 patients had negative ST.

Conclusion In mild and moderate cases of BL hypersensitivity, diagnosis can be performed by DPT without previous ST

  • allergy
  • paediatric practice

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

View Full Text

Statistics from


  • Contributors All authors have significantly contributed to the study.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Parental/guardian consent obtained.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved by the Hospital's Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement There are no additional data from the study.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.