Drug Allergies (cont.)
In this Article
- Why do some medications cause allergic reactions?
- What are the symptoms of drug allergy?
- Which drug allergies are most common?
- How are drug allergies diagnosed?
- How are drug allergies treated?
- How can I be prepared if I have a drug allergy?
- Find a local Asthma & Allergy Specialist in your town
Which Drug Allergies Are Most Common?
The most common drug associated with allergies is penicillin. Other antibiotics similar to penicillin can also trigger allergic reactions.
How Are Drug Allergies Diagnosed?
A doctor diagnoses a drug allergy by carefully reviewing your medical history and symptoms. If your doctor suspects that you are allergic to an antibiotic such as penicillin, he or she may do a skin test to confirm it. However, skin testing does not work for all drugs, and in some cases it could be dangerous. If you have had a severe, life-threatening reaction to a particular drug, your doctor will simply rule out that drug as a treatment option for you. Conducting an allergy test to determine if the initial reaction was a "true" allergic response isn't worth the risk.
How Are Drug Allergies Treated?
The primary goal when treating drug allergies is symptom relief. Symptoms such as rash, hives, and itching can often be controlled with antihistamines, and occasionally corticosteroids.
For coughing and lung congestion, drugs called bronchodilators
may be prescribed to widen the airways. For more serious anaphylactic
Occasionally, desensitization is used for penicillin allergy. This technique decreases your body's sensitivity to particular allergy-causing agents. Tiny amounts of penicillin are injected periodically in increasingly larger amounts until your immune system learns to tolerate the drug.
If you are severely allergic to certain antibiotics, there are alternative antibiotics your doctor can prescribe.
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