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Drug Allergy

Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Associates, LTD

Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Specialists located in Scottsdale, AZ & Gilbert, AZ

Drug allergies account for 5-10% of all adverse drug reactions, causing a wide range of symptoms, including life-threatening anaphylaxis. The board-certified doctors at Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Associates, LTD, with two locations in Scottsdale, and another in Gilbert, Arizona, have years of experience identifying the drug causing your allergies and helping you overcome the issue. If you experience symptoms after taking a medication, call the nearest office, or schedule an appointment online right away.

Drug Allergy Q & A

What causes a drug allergy?

A drug allergy develops when your immune system overreacts and produces antibodies to the medication; every time you take the medication, the antibodies trigger an allergic reaction.

Which medications cause allergies?

Many medications can cause an allergy, but the most common include:

  • Penicillin and other similar antibiotics
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen)
  • Anti-seizure drugs
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Chemotherapy medicines

If you have an allergy to one drug, you have a higher risk of being allergic to other medications.

What symptoms develop due to a drug allergy?

Since medications enter your bloodstream and travel throughout your body, they cause a range of allergy symptoms, such as:

  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Hives
  • Angioedema
  • Skin rash
  • Runny or congested nose
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches

Of all the symptoms, the most common is a skin rash.

How do specialists diagnose drug allergies?

A skin prick or intradermal skin test can accurately diagnose a few types of drugs. In many cases, your provider at Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Associates, LTD, identifies drug allergies, including penicillin and other antibiotics, with a graded challenge test.

During a challenge test, your provider gives you doses of the drug suspected of causing your allergic reaction while observing you for potential responses. The test begins with one tiny amount. If you don’t have an allergic reaction, you get another slightly higher dose.

Your provider repeats this process until you reach the standard therapeutic dose. If you get to the therapeutic dose without reacting, you’re not allergic to that drug.

What if I have an allergy to a drug I need to take?

Penicillin and aspirin are two of the top drug allergies, and they’re medications people often need to keep taking for health reasons. A process called desensitization may give you the ability to keep taking your medication.

Desensitization involves taking frequent, small doses of the drug, increasing the amount each time. If you have any allergic reaction, your provider treats the symptoms and then continues the desensitization process. By the time you reach a therapeutic dose, you should be desensitized and can take the medication.

If you have an allergic reaction after taking medication, don’t wait to schedule an appointment at Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Associates, LTD. Call or book online today to get a thorough check-up and expert care.