Allergic reaction – drug (medication); Drug hypersensitivity; Medication hypersensitivity
Definition of Drug allergies
Drug allergies are a group of symptoms caused by an allergic reaction to a drug (medication).
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Adverse reactions to drugs are common, and almost any drug can cause an adverse reaction. Reactions range from irritating or mild side effects such as nausea and vomiting to life-threatening anaphylaxis.
Signs and tests
An examination of the skin and face may show hives, rash, or angioedema (swelling of the lips, face, or tongue). Decreased blood pressure, wheezing, and other signs may indicate an anaphylactic reaction.
The treatment goal is to relieve symptoms and prevent a severe reaction.
Most drug allergies respond readily to treatment. A few cases cause severe asthma, anaphylaxis, or death.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Paula J. Busse, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Clinical Immunology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 6/29/2010