What is Drug Allergies?

Drug Allergies
Drug Allergies

What is Drug Allergies?

Drug Allergies is an overreaction of the immune system to certain drugs you use. This condition is different from the side effects of drugs that are generally listed on the packaging and drug poisoning due to overdose.

In general, drug allergies occur because the immune system seeks to combat certain substances contained in the drug. This happens because the immune system regards the drug as a substance that can hurt the body.

Drug Allergies Symptoms

Allergic drug reactions generally appear gradually as the immune system builds antibodies against the drug. This reaction appear directly when first taking the drug.

At the first stage of use, the immune system will assess the drug as a harmful substance for the body and then develop antibodies slowly. In subsequent use, these antibodies will detect and attack the substance of the drug. This process can trigger the symptoms of drug allergy.

Most drug allergies have mild symptoms and will usually subside within a few days after you stop taking the drug. The following are some of the common symptoms of drug allergies that you can look into:

  • Rash or bumps on the skin.
  • Itchy.
  • Runny nose.
  • Coughs.
  • Fever.
  • Shortness of breath or shortness of breath.
  • Eyes itchy or watery.
  • Swelling.

However, severe allergic reactions can also trigger anaphylaxis (an allergic reaction that causes extensive body system failure). This condition is very serious and can be fatal so it requires treatment as soon as possible.

Be careful if you have an allergic reaction. Check with your doctor immediately to find out the cause so it can be avoided.

Drug Allergies Causes

Almost all drugs can trigger unwanted reactions from the body, but not all reactions including allergies. Drug allergy is caused by the reaction of the immune system to certain drugs. Some types of drugs that potentially trigger an allergic reaction include:

  • Antibiotics (eg, penicillin).
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.
  • Aspirin.
  • Cream or corticosteroid lotion.
  • Anticonvulsants.
  • Insulin.
  • Vaccine.
  • Drugs for hyperthyroidism.
  • And drugs for chemotherapy or HIV.

Drug Allergies Factors

Not everyone will experience drug-induced allergic reactions. Experts suspect there are several factors that can increase the risk of drug allergy in a person. These risk factors include:

  • Increased exposure to certain drugs, for example due to repeated, prolonged, or high-dose use.
  • Hereditary factors. Your risk for having a drug allergy will increase if any member of your family has allergies to certain drugs.
  • Have experienced other types of allergies, such as food allergies.
  • Have allergies to other drugs. For example, if allergic to penicillin, you also have the potential to experience allergies to amoxicillin.
  • It is a disease that causes the body to be susceptible to drug allergic reactions, such as HIV.

Drug Allergies Diagnosis Process

Just like any other disease, the early stage of allergy diagnosis is by checking your health and physical condition. Especially, the timing of symptoms, the type of drug used, and the severity and changes in symptoms experienced. If needed, doctors may also recommend a detailed examination to confirm the diagnosis, for example:

  • Skin test. Drugs suspected of causing allergies will be applied to the skin with needles, injections or patches. Positive results show skin redness, itching, or bumps appear. If that happens, you almost certainly have allergies to the drug.
  • Blood test. This test is rarely used because the accuracy of the drug allergy is very limited. But, if the doctor suspects there will be a severe reaction if the skin test is done to you, then the doctor is likely to do a blood test. This test also serves to determine other conditions that can bring the symptoms you experience.

Steps of Treatment and Prevention on Drug Allergies

The main treatment for drug allergies  is to overcome and alleviate the symptoms experienced. This step can be done by stop consuming or using drugs that cause allergies.

Giving antihistamines may be advised to block the chemical elements of the immune system that the body activates when an allergic reaction occurs. The use of corticosteroids can overcome inflammation due to a more serious allergic reaction.

For those experiencing anaphylaxis, the patient needs immediate treatment with epinephrine shots. Patients should also undergo hospitalization in order to obtain respiratory assistance and stabilize blood pressure.

In addition to treating, we can also prevent the emergence of drug allergies. The main step in preventing drug allergies is to avoid the drugs that are the source of allergies. For example by wearing an allergen bracelet or necklace if possible, tell your doctor or medical practitioner about the type of drug that can trigger an allergic reaction to you. If an anaphylactic reaction or severe allergic reaction has occurred, your doctor may prescribe an epinephrine injection. Always take care in case of a similar reaction.

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