Authors and Editors

Author: Samuel M. Keim, MD, Program Director, Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Arizona Health Sciences Center Editor: Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD, Chief Medical Editor, eMedicineHealth.com Author: Kevin Hanson, MD, Staff Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine. Coauthor: Samuel M Keim, MD, Program Director, Associate Professor, Department of [...]

Filled Under: Drug Allergy

Outlook

Most people who have mild to moderately severe allergic reactions to a drug do very well. With treatment and stopping of the drug, most people will be much better within 48-72 hours. Most people also do well after a severe drug allergy if they are evaluated promptly by a medical professional and treatment is started. [...]

Filled Under: Drug Allergy

Prevention

There is no known way to prevent drug allergies. You can reduce your risk by taking as few medications as possible. The more exposure your body has to medications, the greater the likelihood of a drug allergy. Always tell any new health-care provider you see about your allergies and the types of reactions you have [...]

Filled Under: Drug Allergy

Next Steps

Follow up with your health-care provider after an allergic reaction to a drug. At this follow-up appointment, he or she can evaluate your recovery from the reaction and adjust any medications. If you do not respond to the treatment prescribed for your drug allergy, it is important that you see a medical professional for re-evaluation. [...]

Filled Under: Drug Allergy

Medical Treatment

Generally, treatment of a drug allergy falls into three categories: Mild allergy (localized hives and itching) Treatment is aimed at caring for the symptoms and stopping the reaction caused by the drug. Medications prescribed may include antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) You may be advised to stop taking the medication that caused the allergy. Moderately [...]

Filled Under: Drug Allergy

Self-Care at Home

For hives or localized skin reactions, perform the following: Take cool showers or apply cool compresses. Wear light clothing that doesn’t irritate your skin. Take it easy. Keep your activity level low. To relieve the itching, apply calamine lotion or take nonprescription antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or chlorpheniramine maleate (Chlor-Trimeton). For more severe reactions, [...]

Filled Under: Drug Allergy

Drug Allergy Treatment

After getting advice from your health-care provider, some mild allergic reactions may be treated at home. Allergy journal

Filled Under: Drug Allergy

Exams and Tests

Generally a drug allergy is identified by signs and symptoms. Medical professionals are trained to recognize hives, swelling patterns, and rashes associated with allergic reactions. You will be asked questions about your medical history and possible triggers of the reaction. Blood tests and other tests are needed only under very unusual circumstances.

Filled Under: Drug Allergy

When to Seek Medical Care

Always contact the health-care provider who prescribed the medication for advice. If the symptoms are mild, such as itching and localized hives, the provider may switch you to a different type of medication, recommend that you stop the medication, or, if appropriate, prescribe antihistamines to relieve your symptoms. If you cannot reach this provider for [...]

Filled Under: Drug Allergy

Drug Allergy Symptoms

Drug allergies may cause many different types of symptoms depending on the drug and the degree of exposure to the drug (how often you have taken it). These are the most common reactions: Skin reactions: A measles-like rash Hives-Slightly red, itchy, and raised swellings on the skin, which have an irregular shape Photoallergy-Sensitivity to sunlight, [...]

Filled Under: Drug Allergy

Drug Allergy Causes

An allergic reaction is caused by the body’s immune system overreacting to the drug, which is viewed as a chemical «invader,» or antigen. This overreaction is often called a hypersensitivity reaction. The body produces antibodies to the antigen and stores the antibodies on special cells. The antibody in an allergic reaction is called immunoglobulin E, [...]

Filled Under: Drug Allergy

Drug Allergy Overview

Allergic reaction is an uncommon and unwanted side effect of medication. Several different types of allergic reactions to medications can occur. Reactions to drugs range from a mild localized rash to serious effects on vital systems. The body’s response can affect many organ systems, but the skin is the organ most frequently involved. It is [...]

Filled Under: Drug Allergy