Predicting which medication classes interfere with allergy skin testing

Kunal M. Shah, Matthew A. Rank, Shoban A. Davé, Corrine L. Oslie, Joseph H. Butterfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Medications often interfere with allergy skin test interpretation. This study was performed to determine which medications interfere with allergy skin tests. We retrospectively reviewed skin-prick test results from patients who had discontinued H1-antagonists, tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), benzodiazepines, atypical antidepressants, antipsychotics, hypnotics, sedatives, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), and H 2-antagonists between 0 and 7 days before allergy skin testing. Ninety-seven subjects had taken second-generation H1-antihistamines within 7 days of skin testing; all patients who had stopped 3 days before testing had positive histamine controls. Two hundred sixty-eight skin tests performed on patients taking a single medication of interest showed that patients had the following percentages of a positive histamine control: TCAs, 56.5%; SNRIs, 100%; H2-blockers, 100%; SSRIs, 97%; PPIs, 97%; benzodiazepines, 85.7%; and atypical antidepressants/sedatives, 92.6%. The 580 patients taking multiple medications of interest showed that the odds ratio and 95% confidence intervals of a negative histamine test for patients taking TCAs were 6.33 (2.11-20.5), for H1-blockers were 4.95 (1.78-15.1), for benzodiazepines were 5.01 (1.72-15.80), for atypical antidepressants/sedatives were 3.11 (1.09-9.61), and for H2-blockers were 2.91 (0.97-9.37). The odds of a negative histamine test for SSRIs, SNRIs, or PPIs were not significantly increased. SSRIs, SNRIs, and PPIs are unlikely to interfere with skin testing. TCAs, H1-blockers, benzodiazepines, quetiapine, and mirtazapine should be discontinued temporarily if clinically able. H 2-antagonists, bupropion, eszopiclone, trazodone, or zolpidem showed minimal interference with immediate hypersensitivity skin test histamine response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-482
Number of pages6
JournalAllergy and Asthma Proceedings
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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