Drug Allergy

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What is a drug allergy?

Allergic reactions are the hyper immune response of our immune system to foreign (antigenic) substances. When certain foreign substances are introduced to the body the immune system is triggered. A hyper immune response may result in the symptoms of allergies. Medications are foreign substances and some of their components trigger the immune system.

What are the symptoms of drug allergy?

Drug allergic reactions are similar to allergic reactions resulting from food and other substances that we ingest. An individual's genetic make-up helps determine what they are allergic to and the severity of their allergies. Allergic reactions can be mild or deadly. Mild reactions include itching, rash, and hives. More serious reactions involve swelling of lips, tongue, and difficulty breathing that can lead to death.

Allergic reactions are different from common side effects of many drugs such as a headache or stomach upset.

What drugs are people most allergic to?

Any drug or a component in a drug can case an allergic reaction. Penicillin and related drugs, sulfa drugs, insulin, and iodine commonly cause allergic reactions. Sometimes it is a component or substances used for packaging or administering the drug that causes the allergy. Components of drugs that commonly cause allergies include dyes, egg proteins, and peanuts. Latex in the packaging of drugs commonly causes allergic reactions.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/9/2015

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Drug Allergy - Symptoms Question: Describe your symptoms associated with drug allergies.
Drug Allergy - Diagnosis Question: What types of tests or exams did you receive before being diagnosed with a drug allergy?
Drug Allergy - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment, including medications, did you receive for your drug allergy?
Drug Allergy - Preparedness Question: If you have a known drug allergy, how are you prepared to handle an emergency or possible exposure?
Drug Allergy - Drugs Question: What drug(s) are you allergic to?