Randomized Multicenter Trial for the Validation of an Easy to Administer Algorithm to Define Penicillin Allergy Status in Sexually Transmitted Infection Clinic Outpatients

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Clinical Infectious Diseases


BACKGROUND: Approximately 15% of patients in sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinics report penicillin allergies, complicating treatment for syphilis and gonorrhea. Nonetheless, > 90% do not have a penicillin allergy when evaluated. We developed and validated an algorithm to define which patients reporting penicillin allergy can be safely treated at STI clinics with these drugs. METHODS: RCT to assess feasibility and safety of penicillin allergy evaluations in STI clinics. Participants with reported penicillin allergy answered an expert-developed questionnaire to stratify risk. Low-risk participants underwent penicillin skin testing (PST) followed by amoxicillin 250 mg challenge or a graded oral challenge (GOC)-amoxicillin 25 mg followed by 250 mg. Reactions were recorded, and participant/provider surveys were conducted. RESULTS: Of 284 participants, 72 (25.3%) were deemed high-risk and were excluded. Of 206 low-risk participants, 102 (49.5%) underwent PST without reactions and 3 (3%) had mild reactions during the oral challenge. Of 104 (50.5%) participants in the GOC, 95 (91.3%) completed challenges without reaction, 4 (4.2%) had mild symptoms after 25 mg and 4 (4.2%) after 250 mg doses. Overall, 195 participants (94.7%) successfully completed the study and 11 (5.3%) experienced mild symptoms. Of 14 providers, 12 (85.7%) completed surveys and 11 (93%) agreed on the safety/effectiveness of penicillin allergy assessment in STI clinics. CONCLUSION: An easy-to-administer risk assessment questionnaire can safely identify patients for penicillin allergy evaluation in STI clinics by PST or GOC, with GOC showing operational feasibility. Using this approach, 67% of participants with reported penicillin allergy could safely receive first-line treatments for gonorrhea or syphilis.

PubMed ID


This document is currently not available here.