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When it comes time for anesthesia, it sure would be reassuring if a test could be given to make sure you don’t have an adverse reaction to the anesthesia medication. It will take sometime to sort out what is feasible, but a recent study shows that more people are at risk than normally assumed.

Allergy to Anesthesia Drugs Not Rare in Surgical Patients
Nearly 5% of surgical patients have a positive prick test to one or more anesthetic drugs, according to a brief report by anesthesiologists in Spain.
“Allergy tests on anesthetizing are indicated only among those patients who have a history of an adverse reaction” to these drugs,” Dr. E. Tamayo and colleagues, from the Valladolid University Hospital in Spain, note.
Until now, however, it was unclear how often prick tests are conducted and how often they are positive among surgical patients without a history of drug allergies, they point out in the August issue of Allergy.
To investigate, Dr. Tamayo’s group conducted a prospective study, between September 1, 2003 and July 30, 2004, with 424 randomly selected surgical patients who underwent prick testing to 30 agents commonly used in the OR setting.
Overall, 4.7% of patients had at least one positive prick test, most commonly to a neuromuscular blocking drug. On multivariate analysis, a history of drug allergy was the only factor that predicted a positive result, raising the likelihood by 6.13-fold.

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