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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 6

of 'Rapid drug desensitization for immediate hypersensitivity reactions'

Antigen-specific desensitization of patients allergic to penicillin.
Sullivan TJ
J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1982;69(6):500.
Three penicillin-allergic patients with life-endangering infections requiring beta-lactam antibiotic therapy were desensitized by means of increasing oral then parenteral doses and were treated with full doses of beta-lactam agents. Malignant otitis externa caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, osteomyelitis caused by Staphylococcus aureus, and bacterial endocarditis caused by an enterococcus were treated with carbenicillin, nafcillin, and benzylpenicillin G, respectively. No acute allergic reactions occurred during desensitization or within 1 wk of the onset of therapy. Immediate wheal and flare skin-test reactions to beta-lactam determinants diminished or became negative after the desensitization procedure in each patient. Wheal and flare responses provoked by histamine, compound 48/80, and environmental antigens were not affected by the desensitization procedure or continued beta-lactam drug therapy. Mild urticaria appeared after 15 days of penicillin therapy in one patient and after 23 days of carbenicillin therapy in another patient. Skin-test reactions to penicillin reagents had reverted to positive at the time of the urticarial reactions. One patient developed a severe immune hemolytic anemia after 10 days of therapy with nafcillin. The results of this study indicate that acute clinical desensitization of these three penicillin-allergic patients was associated with antigen-specific desensitization of tissue mast cells.