Doctors Who Treat Drug Allergies
Any time you have a reaction to a prescription drug— even
if you have taken the drug before with no adverse symptoms—you should
immediately consult with the doctor who prescribed it. If this doctor believes
your reaction might be allergy, they may refer you to an allergist for further evaluation
Anaphylaxis, or a severe allergic reaction, is a
life-threatening emergency. If you experience breathing difficulty, heart palpitations,
severe swelling, dizziness, or fainting, call emergency services immediately, or
have a friend
or family member drive you to the nearest emergency room.
An allergist is a physician who
specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic diseases. An allergist
is specially trained to help you identify the underlying cause of allergies.
They can also prescribe treatment to manage or prevent symptoms.
An allergist can perform tests,
if necessary, to determine whether your reaction is allergy-related and, if so,
to pinpoint its cause.
Determining exactly what is
causing an allergic reaction can sometimes be a long and painstaking task. Be
sure to give your doctor detailed information about your symptoms, how long you
have had them, and if you have recently taken any new medications. This
information can help your doctor determine the underlying cause of your
reaction, as well as the best treatment. If your reaction is obviously
drug-related, the process will be easier.
Preparing to See the Allergist
To get the most from your visit
with the allergist, you can do the following:
- Bring a list of all your symptoms and when they began.
- Make a list of all treatments you have tried and whether they
- Bring a list of all medications and supplements you were using
when you had the reaction. Include topical medications you put on your
- Tell the doctor about any conditions you have, including other
Meeting With the Allergist
It is important to prepare questions to ask the allergist,
and to be prepared for questions that they will ask about your symptoms.
Questions to Ask the Allergist
To make sure you remember all
the questions you want to ask your allergist, it is helpful to write them down.
The following are some questions you might want to ask. Any others you have
should be added to this list.
- Could my reaction be something other than allergy?
- Will I always have a negative reaction to this drug, or was this
a onetime thing?
- What other drugs will I need to avoid?
- What if I react to the medication you are prescribing to treat
- What tests do you recommend?
- Are there any risks involved in allergy testing?
- Will my allergy go away over time?
Questions the Allergist Will Ask You
Your allergist will need
complete information to make an accurate diagnosis. Be prepared to answer the
- When did your symptoms start?
- Do you have these symptoms only after taking this particular
- Do you have these symptoms every time you take this drug?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Have you ever had a reaction to any other drug? If so, what drug
- Do you have any other allergies?
- What else are you taking (medications, vitamins, supplements,
- Do you have any other medical conditions? If so, what are they?