Deakin University
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Antimicrobial anaphylaxis: the changing face of severe antimicrobial allergy

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-01-01, 00:00 authored by V Hall, M Wong, M Munsif, B R Stevenson, K Elliott, M Lucas, A J Baird, Eugene AthanEugene Athan, M Young, R Pickles, A C Cheng, A J Stewardson, A K Aung, J A Trubiano
OBJECTIVES: The epidemiology, clinical characteristics and outcomes of antimicrobial-associated anaphylaxis remain ill-defined. We sought to examine antimicrobial anaphylaxis with regard to: (i) the frequency of implicated antimicrobials; (ii) attributable mortality; and (iii) referral for definitive allergy assessment. METHODS: This was conducted through a national retrospective multicentre cohort study at five Australian tertiary hospitals (January 2010 to December 2015). Cases of antimicrobial anaphylaxis were identified from ICD-10 coding and adverse drug reaction committee databases. RESULTS: There were 293 participants meeting the case definition of antimicrobial anaphylaxis and 310 antimicrobial anaphylaxis episodes. Of 336 implicated antimicrobials, aminopenicillins (62/336, 18.5%) and aminocephalosporins (57/336, 17%) were implicated most frequently. ICU admission occurred in 43/310 (13.9%) episodes; however, attributable mortality was low (3/310, 1%). The rate of anaphylaxis to IV antibiotics was 3.5 (95% CI=2.9-4.3) per 100 000 DDDs and the rate of hospital-acquired anaphylaxis was 1.9 (95% CI=2.1-3.3) per 100 000 occupied bed-days. We observed overall low rates of hospital discharge documentation (222/310, 71.6%) and follow-up by specialist allergy services (73/310, 23.5%), which may compromise medication safety and antimicrobial prescribing in future. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that a high proportion of severe immediate hypersensitivity reactions presenting or acquired in Australian hospitals are secondary to aminopenicillins and aminocephalosporins. Overall rates of hospital-acquired anaphylaxis, predominantly secondary to cephalosporins, are low, and also associated with low inpatient mortality.



Journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy






229 - 235


Oxford University Press


Oxford, Eng.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal