Resources to support penicillin allergy skin testing

Make sure you have everything you need to successfully test for penicillin allergy with PRE-PEN®

As part of our commitment to partnering with you to implement penicillin allergy skin testing, ALK is providing downloadable resources to support your efforts.

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Pen allergy testing & stewardship

An informative guide that demonstrates how penicillin allergy skin testing can help your hospital achieve its antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) goals.

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Penicillin allergy skin testing fact sheet

A quick summary of 5 important facts that demonstrate the significance of penicillin allergy skin testing with PRE-PEN.

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Penicillin allergy skin testing flashcard

A quick reference to remind staff how to properly test for penicillin allergy and to interpret results.

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Instructional guide

A comprehensive resource on how to properly conduct a penicillin allergy test.

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Purchasing and ordering information

A detailed reference guide that provides ordering information for all the supplies needed for penicillin allergy skin testing.

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Dilution flashcard

A helpful sheet that illustrates how to properly reconstitute and dilute penicillin G when performing penicillin allergy skin testing using PRE-PEN.

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Coding flashcard

A guide to accurately coding and billing for penicillin allergy skin testing.

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Patient education brochure

An educational resource to help patients understand penicillin allergy and the importance of getting tested to confirm a past diagnosis, as well as to provide answers to common questions about penicillin allergy skin testing.

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To learn more about additional support available from ALK, contact us at




PRE-PEN is indicated for the assessment of sensitization to penicillin (benzylpenicillin or penicillin G) in patients suspected to have clinical penicillin hypersensitivity. A negative skin test to PRE-PEN is associated with an incidence of immediate allergic reactions of less than 5% after the administration of therapeutic penicillin, whereas the incidence may be more than 50% in a history-positive patient with a positive skin test to PRE-PEN. These allergic reactions are predominantly dermatologic. Whether a negative skin test to PRE-PEN predicts a lower risk of anaphylaxis is not established. Similarly, when deciding the risk of proposed penicillin treatment, there are not enough data at present to permit relative weighing in individual cases of a history of clinical penicillin hypersensitivity as compared to positive skin tests to PRE-PEN and/or minor penicillin determinants.


The risk of sensitization to repeated skin testing with PRE-PEN is not established. Rarely, a systemic allergic reaction including anaphylaxis (see below) may follow a skin test with PRE-PEN. To decrease the risk of a systemic allergic reaction, puncture skin testing should be performed first. Intradermal skin testing should be performed only if the puncture test is entirely negative.

PRE-PEN is contraindicated in those patients who have exhibited either a systemic or marked local reaction to its previous administration. Patients known to be extremely hypersensitive to penicillin should not be skin tested.

No reagent, test, or combination of tests will completely assure that a reaction to penicillin therapy will not occur. The value of the PRE-PEN skin test alone as a means of assessing the risk of administering therapeutic penicillin (when penicillin is the preferred drug of choice) in the following situations is not established:

  • Adult patients who give no history of clinical penicillin hypersensitivity.
  • Pediatric patients.

In addition, the clinical value of PRE-PEN where exposure to penicillin is suspected as a cause of a current drug reaction or in patients who are undergoing routine allergy evaluation is not known. Likewise, the clinical value of PRE-PEN skin tests alone in determining the risk of administering semisynthetic penicillins (phenoxymethylpenicillin, ampicillin, carbenicillin, dicloxacillin, methicillin, nafcillin, oxacillin, amoxicillin), cephalosporin-derived antibiotics, and penem antibiotics is not known.

In addition to the results of the PRE-PEN skin test, the decision to administer or not administer penicillin should take into account individual patient factors. Healthcare professionals should keep in mind the following:

  • A serious allergic reaction to therapeutic penicillin may occur in a patient with a negative skin test to PRE-PEN.
  • It is possible for a patient to have an anaphylactic reaction to therapeutic penicillin in the presence of a negative PRE-PEN skin test and a negative history of clinical penicillin hypersensitivity.
  • If penicillin is the drug of choice for a life-threatening infection, successful desensitization with therapeutic penicillin may be possible irrespective of a positive skin test and/or a positive history of clinical penicillin hypersensitivity.

Occasionally, patients may develop an intense local inflammatory response at the skin test site. Rarely, patients will develop a systemic allergic reaction, manifested by generalized erythema, pruritus, angioedema, urticaria, dyspnea, hypotension, and anaphylaxis. The usual methods of treating a skin test antigen-induced reaction—the applications of a venous occlusion tourniquet proximal to the skin test site and administration of epinephrine—are recommended. The patient should be kept under observation for several hours.

Pregnancy Category C: Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with PRE-PEN. It is not known whether PRE-PEN can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity. The hazards of skin testing in such patients should be weighed against the hazard of penicillin therapy without skin testing.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Please see full Prescribing Information for additional Important Safety Information.