Early detection of allergic drug reaction

Allergic drug reaction usually manifests towards a particular family of drugs. Hives, swelling of the lips or eyelids and even asthma or anaphylactic shock are some of the symptoms. It is essential to detect it in time in order to administer an appropriate treatment.

What is considered an allergic drug reaction?

An allergic reaction to a drug is manifested by an unpredictable reaction to the administration of a drug, which will occur again each time the same drug or a drug containing the active ingredient responsible for the reaction is administered.

When is a patient considered to have an allergic reaction to drugs?

Generally, an allergy is usually to a family of drugs, i.e. to a group of antibiotics, such as penicillins. However, it does tolerate other antibiotics, such as quinolones, macrolides, etc.
Allergic reactions, according to experts in Allergology, can be mild, such as urticaria, or severe, such as asthma, facial edema and even anaphylactic shock, which can lead to death if not treated immediately. They differ from the side effects of drugs because these are often described in that drug, are not usually serious and, in contrast, in the allergic reaction, the effect is usually immediate most of the time, after ingestion of the drug, usually previously tolerated and, if the drug continues to be administered, the reaction can be very serious.

Symptoms of allergic drug reaction

There are many allergic manifestations, but the most frequent are the appearance of itchy bumps (urticaria), swelling of the lips or eyelids (facial angioedema) and intense itching of the palms, soles and genital area. Less frequent are nausea, asthma and digestive and cardiac alterations, reaching Anaphylactic Shock.

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Diagnosis of allergic reaction to medications

The specialist will study the reaction and, to do so, we must inform him/her of the name of the drugs taken, how many doses were administered, the reason for taking the drug, the time elapsed since it was taken until the onset of symptoms, and a detailed description of these symptoms.
Some drugs can be tested by skin or blood allergy testing, but most drugs require controlled exposure to the drug in an allergy clinic. These tests are not without risk, but immediate treatment by the allergy specialist can fully control the reaction.

Treatments for allergic reaction to drugs

In case of allergic reaction there are two goals:
1) Stop the allergic reaction of the drug, preventing its progression with adrenaline, and maintaining blood pressure and pulmonary respiration.
2) Treat symptoms such as itching and swelling with antihistamines and corticosteroids.

Recommendations for patients with allergic reaction to medications

The person with a suspected drug allergy should be referred to the allergist for an appropriate study to determine whether or not he/she tolerates the drug. In case they cannot tolerate it, they will be informed of the family to which the drug belongs so that they can be avoided for the rest of their lives. Alternatives to these drugs will also be recommended.