Dental implants more likely to fail in patients with penicillin allergy, study finds

Patients given alternative antibiotics to amoxicillin are more than twice as likely to experience dental implant failure compared to those given amoxicillin, according to a study by researchers at NYU College of Dentistry in New York City.

The study looked at the charts of 838 patients who received dental implants and reviewed what antibiotics were used and if the implant was successful or not, according to an April 6 press release. Of those patients, 434 reported having a penicillin allergy and 404 patients did not have the allergy.

Those without a penicillin allergy were given amoxicillin, which is in the penicillin family, and those who reported having an allergy were given clindamycin, azithromycin, ciprofloxacin or metronidazole.

The study found that the implants failed in 17.1 percent of patients who reported a penicillin allergy, compared to 8.4 percent of patients without an allergy. The rate of failure was higher for some amoxicillin alternatives than others. For patients taking clindamycin, the failure rate was 19.9 percent, and it was 30.8 percent for azithromycin.

Those who reported an allergy were also more likely to experience implant failure earlier than those without the allergy.

Penicillin allergies are often overreported, with 10 percent of the population reporting an allergy but less than 1 percent of the whole population being truly allergic, according to the CDC.

"If a patient's actual allergy status is determined prior to oral surgery, we may be able to achieve more favorable outcomes by prescribing amoxicillin to those without a true allergy," said Zahra Bagheri, DDS, the study's lead author, in the press release.

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