Penicillin Allergy Label Is Associated With Worse Clinical Outcomes in Bacterial Pneumonia

Lauren W. Kaminsky, Aria Ghahramani, Rezhan Hussein, Taha Al-Shaikhly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Penicillins (PCNs) are a first-line treatment option for bacterial pneumonia. PCN allergy label can delay antimicrobial treatment and result in the use of alternative antibiotic regimens risking an inadequate response to treatment and potentially increased adverse drug reactions. Objective: To investigate the impact of PCN allergy label on clinical outcomes of bacterial pneumonia. Methods: This retrospective cohort study used TriNetX, a web-based tool for population cohort research, to identify adult patients with and without PCN allergy label diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia. Cohorts were matched for baseline demographics and chronic medical conditions. The 30-day risks of hospitalization, acute respiratory failure, intubation, need for intensive level of care, and mortality were compared. Antibiotics used and their possible adverse reactions were explored. Results: After matching, there were 68,748 patients in each cohort. Patients with bacterial pneumonia with PCN allergy label had higher risks of hospitalization (risk ratio [RR], 1.23; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.22-1.24), acute respiratory failure (RR, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.12-1.15), intubation (RR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.13-1.22), intensive level of care (RR, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.08-1.14), and mortality (RR, 1.08; 95% CI, 1.04-1.13) compared with patients without PCN allergy label. Patients with PCN allergy label had decreased use of PCNs and cephalosporins and increased utilization of other antibiotic classes compared with patients without PCN allergy label. PCN allergy label was also associated with increased risk of adverse drug reactions. Conclusion: PCN allergy label is associated with worse clinical outcomes in bacterial pneumonia, and risk mitigation strategies should be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3262-3269
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy


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