Female sex as a risk factor for penicillin allergy

Miguel A. Park, Damir Matesic, Patricia J. Markus, James T.C. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Background: Identification of risk factors is an integral part of a physician's evaluation of a patient. Objective: To determine whether female sex is an independent risk factor for penicillin allergy. Methods: Rates of positive penicillin skin test (PST) results, according to sex, were determined in patients with a history of penicillin allergy undergoing penicillin allergy evaluation with major and minor determinants of penicillin between June 1, 2002, and June 30, 2004. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to calculate unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for sex differences in the rates of positive PST results. Results: Of the 1,921 patients, 1,759 underwent PST and 157 did not; 5 medical records were not available for review. The mean patient age was 60 years. Sixty-four patients (4%) had a positive PST reaction; of these, 53 (83%) were females and 11 (17%) were males (OR, 3.6; 95% CI, 1.9-7.2; P < .001). In a multivariate logistic regression analysis adjusted for age, history of multiple drug allergies, and elapsed time from the initial penicillin adverse drug reaction to PST, female sex again had a significant risk of a positive PST reaction (OR, 3.2; 95% CI, 1.6-6.7; P = .001). Conclusion: A greater risk of penicillin allergy exists in association with female sex in patients with a history of penicillin allergy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-58
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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