For an allergy to drugs we must distinguish two different reactions. There are unexpected side effects and allergic reactions. The mechanism that causes the allergy can be either allergic (immunologic) and metabolically (by intolerance). How people react to a drug allergy can be very different from a skin rash to anaphylactic shock.
Examples of allergic reactions
You can have an allergic respond to medication in different ways.
- General: flu-like symptoms, fever, swollen lymph nodes
- Eyes: red, itchy, tearing and / or puffy eyes
- Skin blisters, hives, itchy rash, redness, scaling and / or swelling.
- Respiratory: tightness, itching in the nose, cough, runny nose, wheezing, stuffy nose and / or sneezing a lot.
- Mouth: stuffiness, itchy ears, itching of the lips and / or mouth and throat, swollen throat, swelling.
- Cardiovascular: dizziness, fainting, and / or ‘get lost’
- Digestive: abdominal pain, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and / or diarrhea.
- Anaphylactic reaction: a combination of skin, digestive and / or respiratory symptoms, with severe symptoms such as tightness of the chest, heart rhythm disturbances (sometimes cardiac arrest), blue lips and blood pressure drop leading to unconsciousness (anaphylactic shock). This reaction is rare
These symptoms can occur within a few minutes, but also after a few hours or more. If now suspect that you have an allergic reaction to a drug, you should contact your doctor.
Known medications that can cause allergies
It is known that some medications can cause allergic reactions. These are:
- Antibiotics such as penicillin and amoxicillin;
- Eye and ear drops, where antibiotics is in;
- Painkillers: such as ibuprofen, naproxen and acetylsalicylic acid / aspirin;
- Anesthetics: as bupivacaine;
Additives use in drugs can also cause an allergic reaction. Then think of ointments and creams for the skin, preservatives in beverages or drops. The amount of lactose used as additive in medication generaly is so low that most people don’t get reactions of it, but if you are really sensitive you might want to change your prescription.