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FDA warns about false negative allergy skin test results

False negative food allergy test results have led to life-threatening anaphylaxis in patients, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
The arm of a patient is being treated with samples of an allergy test.
Posted at 5:26 PM, Mar 06, 2023

The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about allergy skin tests that are providing false negative results. 

The problem has to do with allergenic extracts which are used during skin tests. The FDA said it became aware of instances in 2022 where false negative test results were associated with life-threatening anaphylaxis when a person was exposed to peanuts.

Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction include difficulty breathing, swelling of the face and throat, fast heartbeat, rash all over the body and dizziness.

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For people who recently received a negative skin test for food allergies, the FDA is advising them to speak with their health care provider to determine whether further testing is necessary. 

Clinicians have also been advised to stop using certain extracts to test for peanut allergies. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, peanut or tree nut allergies affect about 3 million Americans. Health officials say many people never seek an evaluation by a physician and "only a few" had epinephrine available for emergency use.

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