AllerGen investigator Dr. Moshe Ben-Shoshan (Montreal Children’s Hospital) has been awarded a four-year, $336,000 CIHR Project Grant to explore adverse reactions to antibiotics among children.
His project aims to determine how often these adverse reactions—typically seen in the form of skin rashes—are allergic rather than non-allergic, and to develop a simple evaluation approach to help diagnose “true” allergies to antibiotics.
“Currently, there is no accepted method to diagnose allergic versus non-allergic antibiotic reactions,” says Dr. Ben-Shoshan. “As a result, children may be misdiagnosed as allergic, and then avoid the antibiotic involved into adulthood, replacing it with antibiotics that may be less effective, more toxic, and more expensive.”
His team began collecting data from children with suspected antibiotic allergy in 2012, conducting supervised oral challenges on them in his clinic, and following those tolerant of the antibiotic for five years to see if their tolerance was sustained.
With the current CIHR support, his team will now “expand our registry to evaluate the major antibiotics used to treat infections, and identify factors associated with positive challenges. Our study will provide valuable data on the safe use of antibiotics in children and the strategies to diagnose and predict allergic reactions.”
Dr. Ben-Shoshan published in JAMA Pediatrics on the misdiagnosis of antibiotic allergies in 2016, when he found a commonly used skin test ineffective for diagnosing suspected allergy to amoxicillin. That study contributed to a paradigm shift in the approach to the diagnosis of antibiotic allergy and was named one of the top 10 Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine stories for 2016 by NEJM Journal Watch. Its findings were covered by the CBC and others.