Guest Columnist
Think You Are Allergic to Penicillin?
Mar 12, 2014 - 11:34:19 AM

Think again 90% of Patients with Penicillin Allergy Aren't Seriously Allergic

( - Many Americans believe that they are allergic to penicillin. In fact, one in ten Americans reports that they have a serious allergy to this popular antibiotic. However, the truth is that 90 percent of people who believe that they are allergic to penicillin actually aren't.

As a recent New York Times blog explains, many people who say that they are allergic to the drug are using the term imprecisely. For example, it is common to experience side effects such as diarrhea as a result of penicillin use, however, this does not constitute a true allergy. Other diseases such as Syphilis and Lyme's Disease actually initially worsen as a result of penicillin use, but this doesn't mean that the patient is allergic to the drug, it is instead a normal part of effective treatment.

Board-certified otolaryngologist Dr. Jordan Pritikin says, "It might not sound like a big deal to believe that you are allergic to penicillin even if you are truly aren't, but it is actually very problematic. As pressure continues to grow around a limited antibiotic future and over-use of broad spectrum antibiotics causing resistance, appropriate antibiotic selection becomes a higher priority."

Dr. Pritikin continues, "Thankfully, patients can easily discover if they are truly allergic to penicillin via a simple skin allergy test, which we now offer at Chicago Nasal & Sinus Center. Unlike other methods of allergy testing (such as dose control and desensitization), the skin test only needs to performed once. Offering penicillin skin testing to patients will provide people access to safer, more effective treatment options and can help save the stronger, more toxic antibiotics for the most severe illnesses."

About Dr. Jordan Pritikin

Dr. Jordan Pritikin is a board-certified otolaryngologist at Chicago Nasal & Sinus Center, a private medical practice devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of nasal and sinus disorders. Dr. Pritikin is a Fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery and attended Rush Medical College in Chicago, where he was selected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Medical Society. Over the years, Dr. Pritikin has cultivated an interest in Rhinology, focusing his practice on diseases of the nose and sinuses, and has participated in clinical research exploring innovative therapies for chronic sinusitis. He has lectured at local and national meetings, developed informational and training videos demonstrating surgical techniques for the nose and sinuses, and has helped develop and refine instruments designed for sinus surgery. Dr. Pritikin and the Chicago Nasal & Sinus Center offer patients an unparalleled level of service, utilizing state-of-the art technology and innovative treatments while maintaining a thoughtful and caring approach. For more information visit


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