Alexander Fleming and Penicillin

September 7, 2017 | , ,

Black and white image of alexander fleming and penicillin

Image: Sir Alexander Fleming, (6 August 1881 – 11 March 1955) was a Scottish biologist, pharmacologist and botanist who discovered Penicillin. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

Did you know Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin on September 28, 1928? Since his discovery, many patients have had what they thought were allergic reactions to penicillin in the form of a rash or hives and

have never had penicillin antibiotics again because of that.  It can be hard to know if the rash/hives were from the penicillin or from the bacteria/virus that the patient had at the time. It is now possible for health care providers to test for penicillin allergy. 

Have you had a reaction to penicillin antibiotics in the past? Then you are a candidate for Pre-pen (penicillin allergy) testing.  This testing takes approximately one hour and may be followed by an oral challenge which can add another hour to testing time. 

What are the benefits of being tested for penicillin allergy? Penicillin allergy testing can identify patients who are incorrectly labeled as allergic and potentially provide access to a safe, effective and well-tolerated treatment. Administering penicillin could provide a less toxic, lower cost antibiotic to patients which may result in better overall patient care.


Penicillin Allergy Facts:

  • Allergy to penicillin and related antibiotics is the most commonly reported drug allergy in the United States. It is estimated that 10% of patients, or 30 million people, self-report as being penicillin allergic; however, 9 out of 10 reporting penicillin allergy are not truly allergic when tested.
  • 80% of patients with IgE-mediated penicillin allergy lose their sensitivity after 10 years.
  • Carrying an inaccurate diagnosis of penicillin “allergy” could adversely affect the quantity and quality of healthcare used.
  • Correctly identifying those who are not actually allergic can improve antibiotic prescribing and combat the risk of super-bugs by allowing patients access to safer, less toxic antibiotics.

Curious to know if you are truly allergic to penicillin? Contact our office at 616-994-2770 to schedule. 




Make an Appointment by calling 616-994-2770

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