Mayo Clinic Health System & UWEC collaborate on penicillin allergy study

Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 6:35 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Mayo Clinic Health System and UW-Eau Claire are working on a study to make sure a penicillin allergy is correctly labeled in medical records.

Mayo Clinic allergist Doctor Adela Taylor is the brains behind what she calls the first-of-its-kind study just to do so.

“Currently in our practice, we remove it at the time of need,” Taylor said. “If someone is having surgery or a medical procedure, but I thought it would be awesome if we could make a larger impact.”

Taylor thought this would be a good opportunity to do this study in a university setting.

That’s where the collaboration with UW-Eau Claire’s Student Health Services came into play.

“It’s still a health care setting that would be safe, but not involve an allergist directly and to do what’s called direct oral challenge where we don’t perform skin tests,” Taylor said.

Doctor Kim Frodl is the medical director at UW-Eau Claire’s Student Health Services and the principal investigator of the study.

“We started the study in January of this last year,” Frodl said. “We started recruiting students using our electronic medical record and then I started doing oral challenges here in the clinic in the spring semester.”

Frodl says the study involves a 75-minutes exam.

“I do a brief physical exam and general health history, and then we give them a dose of liquid amoxicillin,” Frodl said. “We get another set of vital signs. Talk about what did or didn’t happen.”

61 students have participated in the study so far with the goal of reaching 150 students.

According to Taylor, accurate penicillin allergy labels can help keep treatment costs down and offer better treatment overall.

“In having that be inaccurate, then drives decisions that can you can have other infections that happen because we use what’s called a broader spectrum antibiotic,” Taylor said.

Frodl adds this study could open doors to expand patient services for not just students but everyone.

“If we can potentially encourage other college campuses or similar type clinics to do it, it would be, again, a way for us to reach more patients across the United States that maybe don’t have the time or the access to the allergist”

The penicillin study is on pause for the summer but will resume once UW-Eau Claire’s fall semester starts. Following that, Taylor hopes to have the results published.

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