We sought to review past and current literature on sulfonamide drug allergy and distill it in a practical manner to assist the clinician, specifically focusing on cross-reactivity and desensitization.
There do not appear to be consistent genetic markers to reliably predict features of or the presence hypersensitivity reactions. Recent evidence continues to alleviate early concerns cross-reactivity between sulfonamide antibiotics and non-antibiotics. Sulfonamide drug allergy is frequently encountered by the practicing clinician. For sulfonamide antibiotics, delayed rash is the most common clinical manifestation. There is no current evidence to support avoidance of all non-antibiotic sulfonamides in those with a reported allergy to sulfonamide antibiotics, although certain scenarios require caution. Available evidence supports the cautious reintroduction of sulfonamide antibiotics via desensitization, which is usually well tolerated and should be considered in those with strong indications for trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and a reported sulfonamide allergy.