Economic Viability of Penicillin Allergy Testing to Avoid Improper Clindamycin Surgical Prophylaxis Article

Full Text via DOI: 10.1002/lary.30329 Web of Science: 000832586800001

Cited authors

  • Liu MY, Challa M, McCoul ED, Chen PG


  • Objective Patients mislabeled with a penicillin allergy are often unnecessarily given prophylactic clindamycin. Thus, otolaryngologists may cause harm due to clindamycin's associated risk of Clostridioides difficile infections (CDI) and surgical site infections (SSI). The objective of this study was to determine the economic feasibility of penicillin allergy testing in preventing unnecessary clindamycin use among patients with an unconfirmed penicillin allergy prior to otolaryngologic surgery. Methods A break-even analysis was performed using the average cost of penicillin allergy testing and a CDI/SSI to calculate the absolute risk reduction (ARR) in baseline CDI/SSI rate due to clindamycin required for penicillin testing to be economically sustainable. The binomial distribution was used to calculate the probability that current penicillin testing can achieve this study's ARR. Results Preoperative penicillin testing was found to be economically sustainable if it could decrease the baseline CDI rate by an ARR of 1.06% or decrease the baseline SSI rate by an ARR of 1.34%. The probability of penicillin testing achieving these ARRs depended on the baseline CDI and SSI rates. When the CDI rate was at least 5% or the SSI rate was at least 7%, penicillin allergy testing was guaranteed to achieve economic sustainability. Conclusion In patients mislabeled with a penicillin allergy, preoperative penicillin allergy testing may be an economically sustainable option to prevent the unnecessary use of prophylactic clindamycin during otolaryngologic surgery. Current practice guidelines should be modified to recommend penicillin allergy testing in patients with an unconfirmed allergy prior to surgery. Level of Evidence N/A Laryngoscope, 2022

Publication date

  • 2022

Published in

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0023-852X

Number of pages

  • 6