Author(s): Bhole MV, Manson AL, Seneviratne SL, Misbah SA
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Abstract Local anaesthetic (LA) agents have been routinely used in dentistry, ophthalmology, minor surgery, and obstetrics since the late nineteenth century. Reports relating to adverse reactions and LA allergy have appeared in the published literature for several years. However, the incidence of true, IgE-mediated LA allergy remains uncertain and is presumed to be very low. We critically reviewed the English language literature on suspected LA allergy and its investigation with the aim of estimating the reported prevalence and analysing the role of different tests currently used to identify and confirm LA allergy. Twenty-three case series involving 2978 patients were identified and analysed. Twenty-nine of these patients had true IgE-mediated allergy to LA, thus confirming the reported prevalence of LA allergy in large series to be <1\% (0.97\%). The protocols used in the investigation of these patients have also been discussed. Evidence from this review confirms the rarity of IgE-mediated allergy to LA and supports an investigation strategy based on using the clinical history to select patients for skin testing and challenge. We believe that such a triage process would alleviate pressures on allergy services without compromising patient safety.
This article was published in Br J Anaesth
and referenced in Emergency Medicine: Open Access