While medications can treat a variety of ailments, drug allergies can turn these helpful substances against a person. For this reason, it is important to know when a drug is causing an allergic reaction so that this reaction can be treated and one can avoid that drug in the future.
Pharmaceutical drugs are an important component of the field of health care. These medications can be used to treat, cure and even prevent a variety of diseases, and there are pharmacies all across the nation to dispense these drugs. Unfortunately, some consumers discover that they possess drug allergies, which result in these medications causing them more harm than good.
What Are Drug Allergies?
Drug allergies are the group of symptoms that present themselves as a result of exposure to a certain medication. These symptoms range from a mild nausea to potentially fatal anaphylaxis.
Drug allergies do not generally present themselves the first time an individual takes a drug. It is only after this first exposure that an individual’s immune system creates antibodies against the medication. Once this occurs, a chemical called histamine will be produced upon further exposure to the medication, and medicine allergies will then present themselves.
Sometimes, a person will be allergic to the dye used in a medication. When this occurs, the drug allergies will present themselves the first time an individual takes the medication and every other time that the person takes a medication using that particular dye.
Symptoms of Drug Allergies
There is a wide range of symptoms associated with medicine allergies. These include wheezing, hives, itchy skin or eyes, a skin rash and swelling of the tongue or face. Anaphylaxis is a potentially fatal reaction that can be detected by symptoms such as heart palpitations, dizziness, hives, abdominal pain, nausea, a rapid pulse, confusion and difficulty breathing.
Individuals experiencing any allergic reactions as a result of a drug should not hesitate to contact their healthcare provider. When anaphylaxis symptoms are present, it is crucial to get to an emergency room or call 911 immediately.
Treating Drug Allergies
There are a number of treatments for drug allergies, which serve to both relieve a person’s symptoms and prevent them from experiencing a more severe reaction. Mild symptoms, such as an itchy rash, can be treated with antihistamines, while wheezing can be treated with bronchodilators. Corticosteroids and epinephrine are also used in treating symptoms that arise from drug allergies, with epinephrine given as an injection to treat anaphylaxis.
Living with Drug Allergies
For those with drug allergies, the best policy is to avoid the drugs that cause reactions and drugs similar to them. It is also important to let one’s health care providers know about any drug allergies an individual has prior to treatment. Some drug allergies can even be eradicated through a desensitization treatment, performed by an allergist.
It is crucial to never ignore drug allergies, as this can cause discomfort or health problems every time a person takes their medication.