Issue: 2012 > February/March > review

Utility of desensitisation for allergy to antibiotics

H. de Groot, W.M.C. Mulder, I. Terreehorst


Immediate-type allergic reactions to medication are
potentially life threatening and can hamper the drug
therapy of several medical conditions. If no alternative
drug treatment is available, a desensitisation procedure
may secure the continuation of necessary therapy by
inducing a temporal state of tolerance. Desensitisation
is only appropriate in case of a strong suspicion of an
IgE-mediated allergic reaction. It should be performed
by trained clinicians (allergy specialists) in a hospital
setting where treatment of a potential anaphylactic reaction can be done without any delay. In this article, literature describing desensitisation procedures for several antibiotics is reviewed.