One of the most important safety issues when antibiotics are concerned is the allergy to certain types of antibiotics. For instance, penicillin allergy is the most common type of allergy to drugs, with an estimated 10% of population being allergic to this class of antibiotics. Penicillins are the oldest class of antibiotics and the one that has made the biggest impact on the healthcare in the history. Unfortunately, one tenth of people are allergic to these antibiotics.However, it is important to differentiate between being oversensitive to penicillin antibiotics and being actually allergic to them.
It is suspected that the majority of people who are “allergic” to penicillin are in fact only overly sensitive to it and experience certain reactions when using these antibiotics. These reactions include skin rashes and hives among others. However, true allergy to penicillin can be life-threatening as it involves anaphylaxis, which is characterized by the drop in blood pressure and the inability to breathe properly.
As people who are allergic to penicillins cannot take these antibiotics, the need arises for them to have an alternative. We will now try and explain if Keflex can be such an alternative.
Keflex belongs to the class of cephalosporin antibiotics, which are similar in structure and mechanism of action to antibiotics. This means that cephalosporins are not recommended to people who are allergic to penicillin as there is a 5-10% probability that they are also going to be allergic to cephalosporins. Furthermore, the first generation of cephalosporins is more likely to cause an allergic reaction in people who are hypersensitive to penicillin and as Keflex is a first-generation cephalosporin, it should not be used by people allergic to penicillin.
However, there are cases in which the doctor might decide that the treatment with Keflex might be necessary regardless of the penicillin allergy and in such cases an oral challenge may be conducted.
This procedure involves giving a small amount of Keflex to the patient and monitoring their reaction to the medication. If the patient shows no allergic reactions to Keflex, the dosage is increased, while still monitoring the patient’s response to the drug.However, in most cases, the use of Keflex is not recommended and it is possible to find an alternative antibiotic that is going to have the same beneficial effects but that will not cause any allergic reactions. These antibiotics that are safe for use in patients allergic to penicillin include tetracyclines, macrolides and quinolones, among others.