From the Journals

Reported penicillin allergies hike inpatient costs



Total inpatient costs for patients who report being allergic to penicillin are much higher than for those who don’t report an allergy, according to a recent systematic review and meta-analysis.

The review, which eventually included 30 articles, found that total inpatient costs ranged from an average $1,145-$4,254 higher per patient with a reported penicillin allergy compared to nonallergic patients, said T. Joseph Mattingly, PharmD, and his associates. Outpatient prescription costs were also estimated to be steeper, running $14-$93 higher per patient who reported a penicillin allergy.

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Although 10%-20% of patients report a penicillin allergy, “[a] majority of patients who report PCN [penicillin] allergy are not truly allergic upon confirmatory testing,” Dr. Mattingly and his colleagues wrote.

This overreporting of penicillin allergies is a problem for the patient and the health care system because “reported antibiotic allergies have been associated with suboptimal antibiotic therapy, increased antimicrobial resistance, increased length of stay, increased antibiotic-related adverse events, increased rates of C. difficile infection, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, death, as well as increased treatment cost,” said Dr. Mattingly and his coauthors.


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