Asthma caused by penicillins and cephalosporins

  • Animal breeder
  • Chemist
  • Doctor
  • Laboratory staff
  • Medical personnel
  • Nurse
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Surgeon
  • Veterinary surgeon
6-apa ampicillin, Amoxycillin, Benzylpénicillin, Cefadroxil, Ceftazidime, Cephalosporins, Penicillins, Piperacillin.

Incidence: given current awareness of this problem and methods of prevention this condition is rare.

Subject becomes sensitive during the preparation or use of the product.

Classic asthma sometimes with severe attacks associated with conjunctivitis, rhinitis and even urticaria. Anaphylactic episodes are possible when the drugs are ingested by subjects who are already sensitive. Eczema is rarely associated with asthma in such cases. Skin rashes are associated with handling of antibiotic powders.

Diagnostic methods
Skin prick tests with allergens conjugated for minor and major determinants. RAST/CAP RAST for PENI.G and PENI.V, AMOXICILLIN and AMPICILLIN.
Provocation test (in hospital), generally administered orally. Early and late phase reactions may be observed (CEFTAZIDIME).


  1. Eur. Respir. J. 1999,13:1189 Sastre J. et al.
  2. G. Ital. Med. Lav. 1996,18:3 - Fracchia G. et al.
  3. Allergy 1998,53:104 - Jimenez I. et al.
  4. Eur. Resp. J. 1995,8:1421
  5. Eur. Resp. J. 1995,8:467
  6. Clin. Allergy 1981,11:579
  7. Clin. Allergy 1975,55:99
  8. Clin. Allergy 1974,4:227
  9. Br. Med. J. 1981,283:95
  10. "In Allergic Reactions to Drugs" : A. L. DE WECK and H . BUNDGAARD : 423-82, editors SPRINGER VERLAG 1983
  11. Allergy 1998,53:104 - Jimenez I. et al.

As in all diagnostic testing, the diagnosis is made by the physican based on both test results and the patient history.