Background Poorly documented self-reported drug allergy (DAll) is a frequent problem in daily clinical practice and has a considerable impact on prescription choices. The diagnostic work-up of drug hypersensitivity (DHs) allows a better classification of the reactions and provides patients with more reliable information and recommendations for future treatments.
Objective To assess the prevalence of self-reported adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and DAll in a paediatric population and to investigate children reporting suspected DAll in order to achieve a firm diagnosis.
Design The first phase was based on a cross-sectional survey assessing the life occurrence of ADRs and self-reported DAll carried out at the outpatient clinic of a paediatric hospital. The second phase was based on the diagnostic work-up in children with parent-reported DAll, including detailed anamnesis and in vitro and in vivo investigations (skin and provocation tests).
Participants One thousand four hundred and twenty-six parents responded to the initial survey. Sixty of the 67 patients with reported DAll were evaluated at the allergy clinic.
Results The prevalences of self-reported ADRs and DAll were 10.2% and 6.0%, respectively. Most of the suspected allergic reactions were non-immediate cutaneous events attributable to β-lactam antibiotics and occurred in very young children. Thirty-nine of the 60 patients consulting for evaluation had a plausible clinical history and were recommended further investigation. DHs was diagnosed in three children only, based on positive responses in skin (n=1) and oral provocation (n=2) tests.
Conclusion ADRs are frequently reported in children, and many children are classified as having a DAll. After complete evaluation, only a few of these reactions can be attributed to DHs and DAll. Most of the patients (94% in this study) could actually tolerate the initially suspected drug.