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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Allergic Reaction to a Medication: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > Allergies

Allergic Reaction to a Medication

Alternate Names : Drug Allergy, Medication Allergy

Allergic Reaction to a Medication | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the condition?

Treatment includes measures to control the symptoms until the medicine is out of the bloodstream. Antihistamines are used to relieve rash, hives, and itching. Prednisone or other steroids are also used to keep more serious symptoms in check. These medicines can be taken orally or applied to the skin.

Asthma symptoms can be controlled with medications to open the airways. Injections of the medication epinephrine are used to treat severe allergic reactions.

What are the side effects of the treatments?

Antihistamines can cause drowsiness. Prednisone can cause stomach problems, sleep problems, and mood swings. These side effects are generally very mild.

Medications used to open the airways can cause shakiness and abnormal heart rate. These tend to be mild. Epinephrine can cause significant anxiety and shakiness, as well as an abnormal heart rate. This medication is often administered in the provider's office or in the emergency department.

What happens after treatment for the condition?

Once a person has had an allergic reaction to a medication, he or she should avoid that medication. Also, a person should always inform healthcare providers of any medication allergy. People with severe reactions should carry medical alert cards or wear ID bracelets. These devices help inform providers of the allergy in emergency situations.

It is important not to report a side effect as an allergy. People who have had side effects from medicines may safely take them again if they are seriously ill and need that particular medicine. Generally, medicines to which a person is allergic will be avoided except in life-threatening diseases for which there are no other effective treatments.

How is the condition monitored?

Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.

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Allergic Reaction to a Medication: Prevention & Expectations


Author: James Broomfield, MD
Reviewer: Melissa Sanders, PharmD
Date Reviewed: 08/09/01

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