Drug allergy refers to an allergic reaction to a particular medication. With an allergic reaction, the immune system, which often fights disease and infection, reacts to the medication. This reaction usually results in symptoms such as fever, rashes, and perhaps trouble breathing. The symptoms of a drug allergy are usually mild. However, a severe drug allergy can be life-threatening. It can potentially result in anaphylaxis, which is a sudden, life-threatening reaction to an allergen including drugs.
What are the Common Medications that can produce Allergic Reactions?
Different drugs will have different effects on people. With this in mind, certain drugs tend to trigger more allergic reactions than others. These may include:
- Chemotherapy medication such as procarbazine, docetaxel, and paclitaxel
- Antibodies such as penicillin and sulfa antibodies such as sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication
- Anti-epileptic medication
What are the Symptoms of Drug Allergy?
Common symptoms of drug-initiated allergies include:
- Rashes, such as hives
- Facial swelling
- Respiratory symptoms including runny nose, wheezing, and breathing issues
- Itchy skin
You could also develop many adverse reactions to drugs that range from diarrhea caused by antibiotics to stomach discomforts caused by aspirin. Some individuals who are taking some blood pressure medication such as ACE-I can potentially develop tongue and facial swelling, coughs, among others.
What Should I Expect From My Doctor During My Drug Allergy Consultation?
Your doctor will want to know your drug history as well as the history of your symptoms. He will also have to obtain the timeline between when you started using the culprit medication and the onset of your symptoms. He will also have to obtain the timeline relation between when you started using the culprit medication and the onset of your symptoms. On most occasions, you will find that you are using two or more drugs concurrently. As such, your doctor will work closely with you to create a drug use chart to examine the correlation between the drug and your allergic symptoms.
Your doctor may also have to use allergy testing techniques such as blood tests, skin prick tests, and perhaps oral challenge tests to help establish the culprit drug and further evaluate your drug allergy symptoms.
What are the Treatment and Management of Drug Allergies?
When it is found and established that you have a drug allergy, it is best to stop using that particular drug straight away. Your doctor will prescribe you antihistamine, epinephrine, or corticosteroids if you have a reaction.
However, in situations where the allergic drug is vital to your treatment plan and there is no alternative drug, your doctor may decide to provide a desensitization procedure. In doing this, he will offer you the medication in small doses gradually while monitoring your situation very closely for any signs of an adverse reaction. With time, he will now offer the maximum dosage that your system can tolerate to have a therapeutic dose.
Drug allergies may remain unrecognized for a long time, especially if you are using a new drug. This is why it is highly advisable to always keep your healthcare professionals up to date with any arising drug allergy. If you experience any unfamiliar symptoms that may be associated with drug allergy, you should inform your doctor immediately.
Allergens To Test For
- Guinea Pig
- Honey Bee Venom
- When vacuuming, use a micro-filtered bagged vacuum as this helps to prevent allergens from leaking back into the air.