Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice




School of Nursing and Midwifery




Arnold, A., Coventry, L. L., Foster, M. J., Koplin, J. J., & Lucas, M. (2023). The burden of self-reported antibiotic allergies in health care and how to address it: A systematic review of the evidence. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, 11(10), 3133-3145.


Background: Antibiotics are the first-line treatment for bacterial infections; however, overuse and inappropriate prescribing have made antibiotics less effective with increased antimicrobial resistance. Unconfirmed reported antibiotic allergy labels create a significant barrier to optimal antimicrobial stewardship in health care, with clinical and economic implications. Objective: A systematic review was conducted to summarize the impact of patient-reported antibiotic allergy on clinical outcomes and various strategies that have been employed to effectively assess and remove these allergy labels, improving patient care. Methods: The review was undertaken using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. A critical appraisal was conducted on all studies and a narrative synthesis was performed to identify themes. Results: Four themes emerged: the prevalence of antibiotic allergy, impact of antibiotic allergy on antimicrobial prescribing, impact of antibiotic allergy on clinical outcomes, and delabeling strategies to improve clinical outcomes. Of the 32 studies, including 1,089,675 participants, the prevalence of reported antibiotic allergy was between 5% and 35%. Patients with a reported antibiotic allergy had poorer concordance with prescribing guidelines in 30% to 60% of cases, with a higher use of alternatives such as quinolone, tetracycline, macrolide, lincosamide, and carbapenem and lower use of beta-lactam antibiotics. Antibiotic allergy delabeling was identified as an intervention and recommendation to advance the state of the science. Conclusions: There is substantial evidence within the literature that antibiotic allergy labels significantly impact patient clinical outcomes and a consensus that systematic assessment of reported antibiotic allergies, commonly referred to as delabeling, improves the clinical management of patients.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.