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To document a suspected reaction to an antimicrobial drug
Patients who have an allergic reaction to a sulfonamide antibiotic should not be labelled as ‘allergic to sulfur’.
There is no cross-reactivity between sulfonamide antibiotics and non-antibiotic sulfonamides (e.g. sulfonylurea anti-diabetic drugs or diuretics such as frusemide). The only exception is sulfasalazine (Salazopyrin, Pyralin) – avoid sulfonamide antibiotics in patients with a history of hypersensitivity to sulfasalazine, and vice versa.
Cross-reactivity between antibiotic sulfonamides is estimated to be approximately 10%.
More information on sulfonamide allergies is available from Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) website
Carbapenems available in Australia include:
The beta-lactam core structure of carbapenems is significantly different to penicillins and the risk of cross-reactive allergy to carbapenems in those who are allergic to penicillins is negligible.
Due to their broad spectrum, carbapenems are usually administered in the hospital setting where a drug challenge can be considered if required.