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Drug Allergies

Allergy and Asthma Specialists located in Duluth, GA

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Drug Allergies services offered in Duluth, GA


Drug allergies are uncommon, but when they occur, they can cause a life-threatening reaction. At Allergy and Asthma Institute, LLC, Lakshmi Reddy, MD, specializes in diagnosing drug allergies, identifying the medication causing your reaction, and providing the individualized treatment you need to prevent the allergy while getting the medication you need. If you suspect you have a drug allergy, don’t wait to seek expert care. Call the office in Duluth, Georgia, or book an appointment online today.

Drug Allergies Q & A

What causes drug allergies?

If you have a reaction after taking a medication, chances are it’s a side effect, not an allergic reaction. Side effects occur when the medication causes a problem, such as nausea, sun sensitivity, or liver damage.

Allergies account for 5-10% of all drug reactions. If you have an allergy, your symptoms don’t come from the drug; they occur when your immune system reacts to the medicine and releases chemicals that cause allergy symptoms.

Any medication may cause an allergy, but the most common include:

  • Antibiotics such as penicillin (the most common drug allergy)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Anti-seizure drugs
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Chemotherapy medications

If you’re allergic to one drug, you have a higher risk of developing an allergy to other medications.

What symptoms do drug allergies cause?

Drug allergy symptoms may occur in hours to weeks after taking the medication. Though not as common, some medications cause a skin rash that doesn’t appear until six weeks after you take the drug.

When your symptoms appear, you may have:

  • Hives
  • Skin rash
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Runny or congested nose
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches

Drug allergies can also cause a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction. This serious allergic response occurs quickly, causing symptoms such as:

  • Hives
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, and/or face

Anaphylaxis is an emergency that requires immediate attention. If you have an epinephrine pen, use it right away and call 911.

How are drug allergies treated?

Allergy and Asthma Institute, LLC, specializes in customized allergy care, beginning with allergy testing to identify the medication. After verifying the drug that is causing your allergic reaction, your provider may prescribe antihistamines to improve your symptoms or steroids to reduce inflammation. 

However, the main treatment for a drug allergy is to stop taking the medication. If you need the drug for a health condition, your provider may recommend drug desensitization. 

Desensitization occurs in the office under close supervision. During the treatment, your provider gives you doses of the drug every 15-30 minutes. You start with a very small dose, then each one gets a little larger. Your treatment continues, gradually desensitizing your immune system.

The process continues until you have an allergic reaction or reach the full dose. If you can get to the full dose without having an allergic reaction, you can take the medication as needed.

Drug allergies can cause serious reactions, so don’t wait to seek help. Call Allergy and Asthma Institute, LLC, or book online today.