Monday, August 4, 2014

Selected Cephalosporins Can Be Used in Patients with a History of Penicillin Allergy

A widely circulated misconception has been the tale that there is a 10% cross-allergy risk between penicillin and all cephalosporins. Not so, according to a recent literature review. It seems that while some cephalosporins – cephalothin, cephalexin, cefadroxil, and cefazolin – have a significant risk of cross-allergy with penicillin, others do not. The safer drugs to use in a setting of a history of penicillin allergy are: cefprozil, cefuroxime, cefpodoxime, ceftazidime, and ceftriaxone.

Given that there are legions of patients that carry the label “penicillin-allergic,” however valid or erroneous this designation might be, knowing that certain cephalosporins can be used in these patients will be helpful in daily practice.


1. Pichichero ME. Cephalosporins can be prescribed safely for penicillin-allergic patients. J Fam Pract. 2006; 55(2): 106–107.

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