Improving drug allergy management in Australia: education, communication and accurate information

Michaela Lucas, Richard KS Loh and William B Smith
Med J Aust 2019; 210 (2): . || doi: 10.5694/mja18.00467
Published online: 3 September 2018

Drug allergy education and effective communication of accurate information can optimise drug allergy management and patient safety

A drug allergy label is often applied to a patient after an adverse drug reaction (ADR), usually resulting in subsequent avoidance of the drug and related drugs. Recent attention has focused on antibiotic allergy labels and the benefits of delabelling.1 But drug allergy labels, which occur in up to 35% of patient electronic health records (EHRs), encompass all types of medications, with antibiotics, opiates and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs being among the most common (Box 1).2 Accurate and effective communication of drug allergy is crucial for safe prescribing, including sufficient information to enable assessment of the risk of re-exposure compared with the risk of withholding the index drug and related drugs.

  • Michaela Lucas1
  • Richard KS Loh2
  • William B Smith3,4

  • 1 Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, WA
  • 2 Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, Perth, WA
  • 3 Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, SA
  • 4 AllergySA, Adelaide, SA



We thank Sandra Vale, National Allergy Strategy coordinator, for her contribution to the drafting of this article. We also thank Connie Katelaris, James Yun, Maria Said, Andrew Lucas, Syed Ali and the members of the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy Drug Allergy Working Party for their contribution to this manuscript.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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