Total inpatient costs for patients who report being allergic to penicillin are much higher than for those who don’t report an allergy, according to a recent systematic review and meta-analysis.
The review, which eventually included 30 articles, found that total inpatient costs ranged from an average $1,145-$4,254 higher per patient with a reported penicillin allergy compared to nonallergic patients, said T. Joseph Mattingly, PharmD, and his associates. Outpatient prescription costs were also estimated to be steeper, running $14-$93 higher per patient who reported a penicillin allergy.
Although 10%-20% of patients report a penicillin allergy, “[a] majority of patients who report PCN [penicillin] allergy are not truly allergic upon confirmatory testing,” Dr. Mattingly and his colleagues wrote.
This overreporting of penicillin allergies is a problem for the patient and the health care system because “reported antibiotic allergies have been associated with suboptimal antibiotic therapy, increased antimicrobial resistance, increased length of stay, increased antibiotic-related adverse events, increased rates of C. difficile infection, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, death, as well as increased treatment cost,” said Dr. Mattingly and his coauthors.