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Penicillin allergy not as common as diagnoses suggest

Dec 9, 2016 | Failure to Diagnose

People in New York who suffer from allergies to medications have limited options when they need treatment for illnesses. One of the most commonly diagnosed medication allergies comes from penicillin. However, it is estimated that millions of Americans who believe they are allergic to penicillin may have been misdiagnosed.

Often a suspected allergy to penicillin shows up in childhood when a rash or other allergic reaction is present after taking the antibiotic. Diagnosed children usually consider themselves allergic from that point on, but such allergies are often misdiagnosed or can be outgrown by the patient. Adults who were diagnosed with penicillin allergy as children can be retested. One problem is that many doctors are not even aware of the fact that many people with a penicillin allergy on their medical records can actually tolerate the antibiotic with no problems.

The test for penicillin allergy is simple and takes only about three hours, according to one doctor. When penicillin is not considered to be an option for a patient with an infection, they may be prescribed another drug that is not as effective or might have additional side effects.

A misdiagnosis of penicillin allergy could cause someone to suffer from symptoms that penicillin could have alleviated. This is just one example of how a misdiagnosis can have a negative effect on a person’s health. A misdiagnosis could also lead to treatments that have serious or even life-threatening side effects while the real illness goes untreated because it was mistaken for something else. A misdiagnosis could be a legal case of medical malpractice as could a failure to diagnose an illness that a person actually has.