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1.  Survey of Inpatient Clinical Providers’ Antibiotic Prescribing Knowledge 
Inpatient providers have varying levels of knowledge in managing patients with drug and/or penicillin (PCN) allergy.
Our objectives were: 1) to survey inpatient providers to ascertain their baseline drug allergy knowledge and preparedness in caring for patients with PCN allergy and 2) to assess the impact of an educational program paired with the implementation of a hospital-based clinical guideline.
We electronically surveyed 521 inpatient providers at a tertiary care medical center at baseline and again six weeks after an educational initiative paired with clinical guideline implementation. The guideline informed providers on drug allergy history taking and antibiotic prescribing for inpatients with PCN or cephalosporin allergy.
Of 323 unique responders, 42% [95% CI 3748%] reported no prior education in drug allergy. Considering those who responded to both surveys (N=213), we observed a significant increase in knowledge about PCN skin testing (35% vs. 54%, p<0.001) and loss of PCN allergy over time (54% vs. 80%, p<0.0001). Among those who reported attending an educational session (N=62), preparedness to determine if an allergy was severe significantly improved (77% vs. 92%, p=0.03). Other areas, including understanding absolute contraindications to receiving a drug again and PCN cross-reactivity with other antimicrobials, did not improve significantly.
Inpatient providers have drug allergy knowledge deficits but are interested in tools to help them care for inpatients with drug allergies. Our educational initiative and hospital guideline implementation were associated with increased PCN allergy knowledge in several crucial areas. To improve care of drug-allergic inpatients, more research is needed to evaluate hospital policies and sustainable educational tools.
PMCID: PMC4309264  PMID: 25017528
Drug; Antibiotic; Penicillin; Cephalosporin; Inpatient; Allergy; Hypersensitivity; Anaphylaxis; Immune-mediated; IgE Mediated; Drug Allergy; Antibiotic Allergy
2.  Tolerability of Cefazolin after Immune-Mediated Hypersensitivity Reactions to Nafcillin in the Outpatient Setting 
The objective of the present study was to assess the safety and tolerability of cefazolin therapy among patients with methicillin-sensitive Gram-positive bacterial infections who develop non-IgE-mediated hypersensitivity reactions (HSRs) to nafcillin. In this retrospective cohort analysis of the Outpatient Parenteral Antimicrobial Therapy program at the Massachusetts General Hospital from 2007 through 2013, we identified patients switched from nafcillin to cefazolin after an immune-mediated HSR. We reviewed patient demographics, details about the original HSR, and outcomes after the switch to cefazolin therapy. HSRs were classified by reaction type and likely mechanism. There were 467 patients treated with nafcillin, of which 60 (12.8%) were switched to cefazolin during their prescribed course. Of the 60 patients who transitioned to cefazolin, 17 (28.3%) were switched because of non-IgE-mediated HSRs. HSRs included maculopapular rash (n = 10), immune-mediated nephritis (n = 3), isolated eosinophilia (n = 2), immune-mediated hepatitis (n = 1), and a serum sickness-like reaction (n = 1). All but one patient (94.1%) who switched to cefazolin tolerated the drug with resolution of the HSR and completed their therapy with cefazolin. No patient experienced worsening of their rash or progressive organ dysfunction. With appropriate monitoring, therapy with cefazolin after non-IgE-mediated HSRs to nafcillin appears to be safe.
PMCID: PMC4068447  PMID: 24637693
4.  Multicenter Study of Repeat Epinephrine Treatments for Food-Related Anaphylaxis 
Pediatrics  2010;125(4):e711-e718.
We sought to establish the frequency of receiving >1 dose of epinephrine in children who present to the emergency department (ED) with food-related anaphylaxis.
We performed a medical chart review at Boston hospitals of all children presenting to the ED for food-related acute allergic reactions between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2006. We focused on causative foods, clinical presentations, and emergency treatments.
Through random sampling and appropriate weighting, the 605 reviewed cases represented a study cohort of 1255 patients. These patients had a median age of 5.8 years (95% confidence interval [CI]: 5.3– 6.3), and the cohort was 62% male. A variety of foods provoked the allergic reactions, including peanuts (23%), tree nuts (18%), and milk (15%). Approximately half (52% [95% CI: 48–57]) of the children met diagnostic criteria for food-related anaphylaxis. Among those with anaphylaxis, 31% received 1 dose and 3% received >1 dose of epinephrine before their arrival to the ED. In the ED, patients with anaphylaxis received antihistamines (59%), corticosteroids (57%), epinephrine (20%). Over the course of their reaction, 44% of patients with food-related anaphylaxis received epinephrine, and among this subset of patients, 12% (95% CI: 9–14) received >1 dose. Risk factors for repeat epinephrine use included older age and transfer from an outside hospital. Most patients (88%) were discharged from the hospital. On ED discharge, 43% were prescribed self-injectable epinephrine, and only 22% were referred to an allergist.
Among children with food-related anaphylaxis who received epinephrine, 12% received a second dose. Results of this study support the recommendation that children at risk for food-related anaphylaxis carry 2 doses of epinephrine.
PMCID: PMC3531711  PMID: 20308215
food allergy; anaphylaxis; emergency department; epinephrine
5.  Age-related differences in the clinical presentation of food-induced anaphylaxis 
The Journal of pediatrics  2010;158(2):326-328.
Food-induced anaphylaxis may be more difficult to recognize in younger children. We describe age-related patterns in the clinical presentation of children with anaphylaxis, which may facilitate the early recognition and treatment of this potentially life-threatening condition.
PMCID: PMC3022088  PMID: 21094954
food allergy; anaphylaxis; emergency department; infant; child; adolescent
7.  Season of Birth is Associated with Food Allergy in Children 
The prevalence of food allergy is rising and etiologic factors remain uncertain. Evidence implicates a role of vitamin D in the development of atopic diseases. Based on seasonal patterns of UVB exposure (and consequent vitamin D status), we hypothesized that food allergy patients are more often born in fall or winter.
Investigate whether season of birth is associated with food allergy.
We performed a multicenter chart review of all patients presenting to three Boston emergency departments (EDs) for food-related acute allergic reactions between 1/1/01 and 12/31/06. Months of birth among food allergy patients were compared to those of patients visiting the ED for reasons other than food allergy.
We studied 1,002 food allergy patients. Among younger children with food allergy (age <5 years) – but not among older children or adults – 41% were born in spring/summer compared to 59% in fall/winter (P=0.002). This approximately 40/60 ratio differed from birth season of children treated in the ED for non-food allergy reasons (P=0.002). Children <5 years old born in fall/winter had a 53% higher odds of food allergy compared to controls. This finding was independent of the suspected triggering food and allergic comorbidities.
Food allergy is more common in Boston children who were born in the fall and winter seasons. We propose that these findings are mediated by seasonal differences in UVB exposure. These results add support to the hypothesis that seasonal fluctuations in sunlight and perhaps vitamin D may be involved in the pathogenesis of food allergy.
PMCID: PMC2941399  PMID: 20408340
Food allergy; season of birth; epidemiology; UVB; vitamin D

Results 1-7 (7)