Drug allergies are a type of adverse drug reaction, but only around 5-10% of drug reactions are true drug allergies. In true drug allergies your immune system overreacts to a medication (or its breakdown products) and this reaction generates your symptoms.
Some of the most common offenders in drug allergies include aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen/Advil and naproxen/Aleve. Others are antibiotics such as penicillin, x-ray dyes and some chemotherapy drugs. Even your herbal supplements may be allergy culprits.
Our drug allergy testing helps determine or confirm which medications are causing your allergies. We can help you avoid exposure to specific drugs that trigger your drug allergies, but our desensitization techniques may reduce or eliminate your drug allergies altogether.
Symptoms of Drug Allergies:
- Rash or hives (urticaria)
- Facial swelling
- Shortness of breath, cough or wheezing
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Vomiting or diarrhea
Causes of Drug Allergies:
Allergic drug reactions usually begin right after you take the medication, but you may even develop a drug allergy after taking a medication for several weeks, even when you’ve had no rection to it with previous doses. An overactive immune response to medications causes your mast cells (immune cells) to burst and release histamine and other chemicals into your bloodstream, causing your drug allergy symptoms.
The most severe drug allergy symptom is whole-body inflammation, a condition called anaphylaxis that may be life-threatening. If you develop anaphylaxis, you must immediately contact emergency services and use an epinephrine (adrenaline) auto-injector, if available.
What to Expect During Drug Desensitization?
You start with a very small dose of the drug to which you are allergic and gradually increase the dosage over time. This technique is done under close medical supervision by your allergy provider. All your treatments are given at a dose that is just enough to stimulate your immune system but will not cause a full-blown allergy attack. We may give you an antihistamine or other medication before therapy to blunt more severe allergic reactions if your symptoms are typically severe.
If you would like to learn more about how Relief Allergy & Sinus Institute can help you get your drug allergies under control with drug desensitization therapy, request an appointment today online or call (630) 513-1691.