Penicillin, the first and widely used antibiotic for treating several bacterial infections was first discovered by Dr Alexander Fleming. Fleming found out that Pencillium notatum has the capability to produce the compound for destruction of surrounding bacterial cells. The discovery led to production of penicillin antibiotics for wide applications in hospitals. The Penicillin synthesized by various species of the Penicillium mold can be of 2 types. One is the naturally occurring penicillin which is formed during the mold fermentation process and the 2nd type is the semisynthetic penicillin which is synthesized by altering the structure of 6-aminopenicillanic acid found in all natural penicillin. The structure and characteristics of the antibiotic are changed to meet the desirable requirements like Oral medication, drug effectiveness and so on.
The mechanism involved is Penicillium produces the chemical compound penicillin upon facing danger from different microbes like Staphylococcus bacteria and so on. The compound inhibits the bacterial growth enzyme and also activates several enzymes required for cell wall breakdown. As a result, bacterial cells are killed. As human cells lack cell wall, penicillin is safe to be used. Well that’s what we assumed at the earlier days.
Now however, with the allergies on the rise against several antigens, penicillin allergy is one of the most common drug allergy witnessed by several people worldwide. Penicillin allergy is the reaction of the host immune system to the antibiotic drug penicillin. The common symptoms of the allergy include rash, swelling, hives, itching and so on. Severe reaction includes anaphylaxis, the life threatening condition which can affect several systems of the body and cause death. Penicillin and some other compounds with similar properties can cause the allergic reactions however some events i.e the side effects faced after intake of penicillin is misunderstood for allergies. Doctor consultation is a must to differentiate and realize whether the reactions are just adverse side effects or allergies.
Penicillin Allergy Evaluation must be appropriate as it can combat infections and reduce antibiotic resistance. It was observed that 95% of patients with penicillin allergy indication in medical records were truly not allergic and showed to have increased infection risk of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and Clostridium difficile (C. difficile). Thus drug allergy must be done appropriately to overcome dangerous infections and antibiotic resistance which are huge public concerns.