Diagnostic Approximation to Delabeling Beta-Lactam Allergic Patients

  • Maria J. TorresEmail author
  • E. Moreno
  • R. Fernandez-Santamaría
  • I. Doña
  • T. D. Fernandez
Drug Allergy (C Mayorga, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Drug Allergy


Purpose of review

Beta-lactam antibiotics constitute first-choice drugs for bacterial infections, although the high rate of hypersensitivity reactions constitutes a worldwide health problem. The public health implications of beta-lactam (BL) allergy are enormous as the self-reported penicillin allergy has been associated with antimicrobial resistance, increased cost to health systems, intensive care admission, and death. Therefore, an accurate and rapid diagnosis is crucial.

Recent findings

The diagnostic work-up is mainly based on the performance of an accurate clinical history, skin tests, drug provocation tests and, in some cases, in vitro tests. In recent years, there has been a growing interest on the role of computerized clinical decision support systems to stratify the risk for performing classical diagnostic work-up and in the design of mathematical diagnostic algorithms based on clinical history predictors that would permit the avoidance of high-risk procedures such as skin and drug provocation tests. A precise diagnosis of BL allergy will allow defining phenotypes and endotypes.


Nowadays, clinical guidelines that use data from the clinical history are not able to delabel patients, although they can be useful in an urgent situation. True delabeling is still based on the performance of in vivo tests, although differences on the pattern of BL consumption cause differences in the diagnostic approach among different countries.


Beta-lactams Hypersensitivity In vivo tests In vitro tests Diagnosis 



The present study has been supported by Institute of Health “Carlos III” of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (grants cofunded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF): PI15/01206, PI16/00696 and RETICS ARADYAL RD16/0006/0001, RD16/0006/0019; Andalusian Regional Ministry Health (grant PI-0241-2016)). ID is a recipient of a Juan Rodes fellowship (Carlos III Health Institute JR15/00036). TDF holds a “Ramon y Cajal” research contract from Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (RYC-2013-13138).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

References and Recommended Reading

Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria J. Torres
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • E. Moreno
    • 4
  • R. Fernandez-Santamaría
    • 4
  • I. Doña
    • 1
    • 4
  • T. D. Fernandez
    • 4
  1. 1.Allergy Unit, ARADyALHospital Regional Universitario de MálagaMalagaSpain
  2. 2.Nanostructures for Diagnosing and Treatment of Allergic Diseases Laboratory, Andalusian Center for Nanomedicine and Biotechnology-BIONANDMálagaSpain
  3. 3.Allergy Research Group, ARADyAL, Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de Málaga-IBIMA, Pavilion 5, basementHospital Regional Universitario de MálagaMalagaSpain
  4. 4.Allergy UnitUniversity Hospital of SalamancaSalamancaSpain

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