Drug challenge and desensitization protocols

P. A. Greenberger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Readministration of incriminated medications may involve drug challenges and desensitization protocols that are classified as true immunologic desensitization or test-dosing protocols. In the case of penicillin-induced, IgE-mediated reactions, such as severe urticaria and angioedema, true desensitization involves very cautious readministration beginning with small doses of a β-lactam antibiotic. Subsequently, the antibiotic administration causes the disappearance of immediate cutaneous reactivity, representing neutralization of IgE antibodies. In contrast, most drug challenges are performed empirically, beginning with subanaphylactic or subreactive doses. These challenges require proper planning, patient consent, expectation of inducing an untoward reaction, and preparedness for treatment of the reaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)759-772
Number of pages14
JournalImmunology and Allergy Clinics of North America
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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