Drug Allergy Evaluations and How to Handle Them

Drug Allergy Evaluations and How to Handle Them

Medical intervention is a great way to keep up with the health of your body. Medications prescribed are important for relieving pain, mitigating infection, curing the underlying problems, as well as the symptoms. However, it is not all drugs that will respond well to your body. Sometimes, you can have an allergic trigger that causes you more damage than good.

What Is Drug Allergy?

It can be defined as an allergic reaction to a component found in medication or drug. Sometimes the drug allergy can be anticipated as a side effect of the medication. However, some other times, patients can report allergies that have never been detected or identified in drug usage.

Diagnosis of Drug Allergy

Your doctor should invest ample time in diagnosing the allergic reaction. A misdiagnosis can cause you to spend more money on more expensive medication for no reason. The diagnosis is important to find out whether the problem is the allergy or the symptoms are just a part of your illness manifesting in different ways.

A physical exam is, therefore, necessary to examine your body’s response. The doctor has to collect information from you, ranging from

  1. The time you started taking the medication
  2. Foods you have eaten within that period
  3. Previous history of allergic reactions and triggers
  4. State of the symptoms – whether they are improving or worsening.
  5. Symptoms of the allergic triggers

While at it, you may need a thorough examination by an allergist. Some tests you may need include:

  1. Skin test – a small portion of the drug is injected in the surface of your skin to analyze the response of your skin to the drug.
  2. Blood test – the blood work helps narrow down to the cause of the problem. Sometimes, you may be having other underlying issues that are getting you worked up, not necessarily related to the drug.

How Allergic Symptoms Manifest

Allergic symptoms being as a chain of events in the immune system. The manifestation of these events happens within hours or more, after taking the medication. Usually, the more of that drug you consume, the more the allergic reaction.

Most people have allergic responses to drugs they have used before. A common one is an antibiotic such as penicillin. If you have been exposed to such a drug in the past, your body is likely to respond with an allergic trigger. Some symptoms are more severe than others. The common symptoms of drug allergy include:

  1. Skin itchy rashes
  2. Inflammation of body parts, including the face, lips, fingers, and toes.
  3. Wheezing and stuffy nose
  4. Light-headedness
  5. Shortness of breath and difficulties breathing
  6. Blisters
  7. A sudden drop in blood pressure
  8. Nausea and vomiting

Some allergic reactions are more fatal and life-threatening than others. Some drugs like Anticonvulsants have been known to cause anaphylaxis, which is a very severe form of allergic response. Anaphylactic reactions to drugs can even result in death. The symptoms manifest an hour after the treatment or even a couple of hours later.

Common Drugs That Cause Allergic Reactions

  1. Chemotherapy
  2. Monoclonal antibody therapy
  3. Anti-inflammatory drugs
  4. Anti-seizure drugs

Treating the Current Symptoms of Drug Allergy

Depending on the diagnosis, some treatment measure includes:

  1. Drug withdrawal – your doctor will take you off of that drug. Instead, you will have another type of drug prescribed. This is usually an alternative to the previous drug, that serves the same purpose.
  2. Antihistamines – these drugs are used to cause a barrier to the immune system chemicals. These chemicals are usually released during an allergic reaction. You can get the drugs at the medical facility or over-the-counter. This is necessary for when that medication is still necessary for your treatment. Therefore, the allergic responses if your body has to be blocked so that your body can receive the required treatment.

When Should You See A Doctor?

Even though your allergic reactions are not advanced, do not downplay them. An allergic reaction can quickly escalate within hours and deteriorate your entire health.

As soon as you highlight some of the symptoms aforementioned, be sure to contact your doctor soon. Bear in mind that some allergic responses can threaten your life. While at it, be prepared to take to your doctor about your symptoms. Have a list of all the medication you are taking and the exact symptoms you have experienced since you started taking them.