Allergy and Immunology
Drug Allergy Program

Drug Allergy Program - Drug Allergy Diagnosis and Treatment

The Drug Allergy Program at Cincinnati Children’s diagnoses and treats drug allergies in children in the Greater Cincinnati area and in patients referred nationally. The program’s core clinical members are from the Division of Allergy and Immunology and led by Professor Kimberly A. Risma, MD, PhD

Any time a person takes a medicine, they can have a reaction. This can happen when taking a medicine by mouth or when getting a medicine through a shot or an IV. Sometimes the reaction is a side effect of the illness or medicine, and sometimes it can be an allergic reaction. For example, amoxicillin is a common antibiotic (a type of penicillin) that is used to treat respiratory infections and strep throat. Many people may have had a rash when taking amoxicillin but are not allergic when tested (learn more about our Pediatric Antibiotic Allergy Testing Services).

Some people may have a severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis, after receiving a vaccine, anesthesia medications during surgery, antibiotics, chemotherapy agents or biologics for inflammatory disorders. Some people experience serum sickness-like reactions (SSLR), in which the body’s immune system mistakenly identifies a substance (commonly an injectable medicine) as harmful.

Evaluation of allergic reactions to medicines and vaccines starts with an outpatient clinic visit. Get a consultation for your child if they are experiencing any antibiotic-associated allergy symptoms

For an appointment, call 513-636-6771 and ask for a drug allergy appointment at our Liberty Campus or Burnet Campus location. If you live in Ohio, Kentucky or Indiana, you may request a telemedicine visit for consultation at the time of scheduling, and a follow-up visit will be planned for subsequent testing. Medical records may be faxed to 513-636-5835.

Penicillin Allergy Testing video.

Tackling Antibiotic Allergy

Kimberly Risma MD, PhD.

Recent studies have shown that 95% of children who have been labeled as having an “allergy” to antibiotics do not have a clinical reaction when re-exposed to it through testing.

Why are Antibiotic Allergy Labels a Problem?

Skin rash visible on a baby.

At Cincinnati Children’s, 7.5% of all patients have an antibiotic label on their medical history. Avoiding common antibiotics, like amoxicillin, leads to using antibiotics that:

  • Cost more
  • Have more side effects
  • May increase antibiotic resistance in our community
Learn about Pediatric Antibiotic Allergy Testing Services