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Cephalosporin allergy: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis

Author
Antonino Romano, MD
Section Editor
N Franklin Adkinson, Jr, MD
Deputy Editor
Anna M Feldweg, MD

INTRODUCTION

Cephalosporins are among the most commonly-used antibiotics in the treatment of routine infections, and their use is increasing over time [1-3]. Cephalosporins can cause a range of hypersensitivity reactions, from mild, delayed-onset cutaneous reactions to life-threatening anaphylaxis in patients with immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated allergy [4-8].

This topic reviews the clinical manifestations, pathogenesis, and diagnosis of hypersensitivity reactions to cephalosporins. Issues of cross reactivity between cephalosporins, penicillins, and related drugs, and the subsequent use of cephalosporins and related antibiotics in patients with cephalosporin or penicillin allergy, are discussed elsewhere. (See "Cephalosporin-allergic patients: Subsequent use of cephalosporins and related antibiotics" and "Penicillin-allergic patients: Use of cephalosporins, carbapenems, and monobactams".)

CLINICAL MANIFESTATIONS, INCIDENCE, AND MECHANISMS

Reactions to cephalosporins may be divided as follows [9]:

Immediate reactions, which develop within 1 hour after administration

Nonimmediate reactions, which develop >1 hour after administration

                       

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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Tue Jun 17 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2014.
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