Doctors report in BMJ Case Reports a rare episode of severe allergy (anaphylaxis) after a women performed oral sex.
The patient presented to a hospital in Spain in “moderate anaphylaxis.” Her boyfriend had been taking Ibuprofen and Augmentin (amoxicillin/clavulanic acid) for an ear infection with a dose 4 hours prior to engaging in oral sex. She within hours began vomiting, having difficulty breathing and full body hives. Doctors deduced she had a penicillin allergy and was reacting to the amoxicillin that could have concentrated in her boyfriend’s semen.
Amoxicillin is in the same antibiotic class as penicillin.
Although there have been cases of people reporting allergic reactions to the proteins in semen this was one of the first documented cases in which a drug taken orally by a person was transferred to a hypersensitive patient through oral sex.
Study authors write:
To our knowledge, this is the first case reported of a suspicion of amoxicillin-induced anaphylaxis in a woman after a sexual contact with a man who was taking the drug, we hypothesised an oral drug transfer through semen.
Studies about amoxicillin concentrations achieved in semen after a drug intake are scarce. There are few cases reported of hypersensitivity reactions induced by drugs transported in semen but we have found some concern in sensitive patients about the possibility of transference of allergens via sexual intercourse. As clinicians, we consider that it is important to be aware of the existence of this possibility both in the diagnosis and in the prevention of anaphylactic reactions.
10% of the population reports an allergy to penicillin, but the CDC estimates less than 1% are truly allergic.
What is anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergy that may be life threatening.
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Feeling of throat tightening
- Abdominal Pain
- Chest Pain
- and more…
It can lead to cardiac arrest, hence it’s a medical emergency and any suspicion of it should prompt a call to 911.
What are allergies?
Allergies are the result of the immune response to a foreign particulate that our body senses. One could be allergic to pollen, dust, dander, food, insects, mold, metals, transfused blood, grafts, medicine and anything the body senses as a foreign intruder. Even though these may be individually harmless, a hypersensitivity reaction occurs as a result of their intrusion into the body. IgE antibodies find the allergen (intruder) and activate mast cells in the tissue and basophils in the blood. When these cells get activated, they release substances to help protect the body, including histamines, leukotrienes, and cytokines. These help the body attempt to sneeze and cough the allergen out, wall off the antigen, signal more antibodies, or produce tears and nasal secretions to flush it out.
Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.