Drug Allergies

Fact 1

Penicillin is the most common drug people are allergic to. Millions of patients worldwide end up in the hospital due to penicillin allergy.

Fact 2

While antibiotics protect our body from inflammation and bacteria, one person may accept one antibiotic and reject another entirely.

Fact 3

The most common symptom of drug allergy is skin rash and coughing. Some people may experience dizziness and nausea.

about drug allergies

What is drug allergy?

There are several types of drug allergies; however, we mainly focus on fast-occurring allergic reactions that cause rash and hives, angioedema or swelling, and anaphylaxis. The reactions usually happen within minutes of the drug being administered. Usually, a person’s immune system reacts to a particular medicine. Some individuals experience a delayed allergic reaction to a medication. The first symptoms appear within 24 hours after the person has taken the drug.

Any drug, over-the-counter, herbal or prescribed, is able to cause an allergic reaction. It’s important to mention that allergic reactions and side effects to a particular drug aren’t the same. Side effects are known possible reactions listed on a drug label.
Any symptoms should be taken quite seriously since allergy is a potentially life-threatening condition. Additionally, drug allergy is more common in adults, especially the elderly. It happens suddenly with people who already had consumed a particular drug and not experienced a reaction.


Medication allergy symptoms

The first signs appear within an hour after taking medication and include: itchy watery eyes, runny nose, swelling, fever, shortness of breath, itching, hives, and skin rash.
On the other hand, some people may experience anaphylaxis, a rare, life-threatening condition that causes your body organs to fail. Pay attention if you ever experience seizures, weak pulse, dizziness, nausea, difficult breathing, and loss of consciousness.


Types of drugs that trigger an allergic reaction

Vaccines: while they usually prevent infectious diseases, some people are allergic to compounds found in vaccines. For instance, if you are allergic to eggs, you should know that the seasonal flu vaccine or yellow fever vaccine contains a small amount of egg protein.
Insulin: even though millions of people around the world inject themselves with an insulin shot at least two times a day, this hormone has the potential to cause an allergic reaction.


Drug allergy treatment

Once the person has been diagnosed with a drug allergy, avoidance is the best option to treat this condition. It’s essential to notify your doctor about the symptoms you’ve expected. In some cases, you might be able to beat this condition with allergy medications, like an adrenaline shot.
If there is no alternative to your condition and you still have to take the drug, a unique technique called desensitization is applied. This treatment involves taking a small amount of drug until your immune system learns to tolerate it.

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