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  1. Patient Information
  2. General:
  3. Pregnancy - Category C:
  4. Pediatric Use:
  5. Geriatric Use:
  6. Nursing Mothers:
  7. Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility:
  8. Drug Interactions:

Patient Information 

Patients should be instructed to describe any active allergic symptoms such as rhinitis, wheezing, dyspnea, etc. prior to testing. Also, seeADVERSE REACTIONSandWARNINGSSections.

Patients should always be observed 20 to 30 minutes after testing.


  1. In the presence of active symptoms such as rhinitis, wheezing, dyspnea, etc., the indications for skin testing must be weighed carefully against the risk of temporarily aggravating the symptoms by the testing itself. Objective assessment of pulmonary function such as Peak Expiratory Flow Rate (PEFR) before allergen administration and prior to discharge may be useful in unstable asthmatics to reduce the chances of exacerbation of the patient s asthma. Patients should be instructed to describe any active allergic symptoms as described above prior to skin testing and encouraged to report any late reactions from this testing. Also, seeADVERSE REACTIONSandWARNINGsections.
  2. Store allergenic extracts between 2 -8 C at all times, even during use.
  3. Care must be taken to avoid drawing blood.
    1. For percutaneous testing, if blood is observed, immediately wipe the allergen from the site.
    2. For intradermal skin testing, pull gently on the syringe plunger and note if any blood enters the syringe. If blood is obtained, reposition the needle and repeat before injecting (seeDOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

  4. Allergenic extracts become less potent with age. Allergenic extracts containing glycerin 50% v/v are relatively stable. Non-glycerinated aqueous extracts, particularly dilute forms as used for intradermal skin testing, have been shown to be extremely unstable. Until such time as stability studies are complete with dilute allergens, new intradermal strength materials should be prepared every few weeks.
  5. Use standard aseptic precautions if making dilutions from stock concentrates to intradermal strength.
  6. For intradermal testing: Extracts in glycerin 50% v/v must be diluted with a non-glycerinated diluent and must be diluted at least 25-fold to less than 2% glycerin by volume, as glycerin above this level can cause false positive intradermal skin test results.

Pregnancy - Category C: 

Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with allergenic extracts. It is also not known whether allergenic extracts can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity.

Controlled studies of hyposensitization with moderate to high doses of allergenic extracts during conception and all trimesters of pregnancy have failed to demonstrate any risk to the fetus or to the mother4. However, on the basis of histamine s known ability to contract the uterine muscle, the release of significant amounts of histamine from allergen exposure to skin test overdose should be avoided on theoretical grounds. Therefore, allergenic extracts should be used cautiously in a pregnant woman and only if clearly needed.

Pediatric Use: 

Allergenic extracts for diagnostic use have been given safely in infants and young children. Infants have lower skin test reactivity to histamine, as well as common allergens. Skin test reactivity gradually increases to age 6 and plateaus to age 60. Therefore, small skin test reactions should be anticipated in children under age 6.

Geriatric Use: 

Skin test reactivity gradually decreases after age 60. Therefore, smaller skin test reactions should be anticipated in adults over age 60.

Nursing Mothers: 

It is not known if allergens administered subcutaneously appear in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when allergenic extracts are administered to a nursing woman.

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility: 

Studies in animals have not been performed.

Drug Interactions: 

Drugs can interfere with the performance of skin tests5.

Antihistamines: Response to mediator (histamine) released by allergens is suppressed by antihistamines. The length of suppression varies and is dependent on individual patient, type of antihistamine and length of time the patient has been on antihistamines. The duration of this suppression may be as little as 24 hours (chlorpheniramine), and can be as long as 40 days (astemizole).

Tricyclic Antidepressants: These exert a potent and sustained decrease of skin reactivity to histamine which may last for a few weeks.

Beta2Agonists: Oral terbutaline and parenteral ephedrine, in general, have been shown to decrease allergen induced wheal.

Dopamine: Intravenous infusion of dopamine may inhibit skin test responses.

Beta Blocking Agents: Propranolol can significantly increase skin test reactivity.

Other Drugs: Short acting steroids, inhaled beta2agonists, theophylline and cromolyn do not seem to affect skin test response.

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