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Skin testing for immediate hypersensitivity to betalactams: comparison between two commercial kits


Maria José Torres Jaén
Laboratorio de Investigación
Hospital Civil, pabellón 5, sótano
29009 Malaga


Introduction:  Skin testing with major and minor determinants of benzylpenicillin is the recommended standard practice to evaluate subjects with immediate hypersensitivity to betalactams. The withdrawal of these products from the market has set us back to the early days, before the introduction of reagents for in vivo testing.

Objectives:  To compare a recently released kit of benzylpenicillin conjugated to poly-l-lysine (PPL) and minor determinants mixture (MDM) with the previously existing kit in a positive control group of subjects sensitized to major and/or minor determinants of benzylpenicillin.

Methods:  Skin tests with both kits were made in a group of positive subjects previously diagnosed with immediate hypersensitivity to penicillins and with positive results to PPL and/or MDM and in a negative control group. Radioallergosorbent test (RAST) inhibition assays with a pool of sera and individual samples were carried out to compare the inhibition capacity of PPL and MDM of both kits.

Results:  Of 22 cases selected from our historical group, 14 were positive: eight to PPL, three to MDM and three to both. These results were equivalent for both kits. RAST inhibition studies showed similar potencies in the inhibition of PPL and MDM.

Conclusions:  Both tests show similar results in terms of RAST inhibition assays and skin tests sensitivity and specificity in the groups selected. The new assay can be used for the same purpose and indications as the previous test.