Drug Allergy Drugs
Get the facts on drugs to treat allergic reactions, including antihistamines, bronchdilators, corticosteroid treatments, and emergency epinephr...

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Drug Allergy Treatments

If you have an allergic reaction to a drug, the first step is to stop taking that medication. You may also need additional medication to ease any uncomfortable symptoms. Serious allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis, require immediate medical attention.

There are several medications available to treat drug allergies. Contact your doctor if believe you are having an allergic reaction to your medication.


For mild symptoms such as a rash, hives, and itching, over-the-counter or first-generation antihistamines can be effective. These drugs may cause drowsiness. First generation antihistamines include:

  • brompheniramine (Dimetapp)
  • dimenhydrinate (Dramamine)
  • diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Sominex)
  • doxylamine (Vicks NyQuil)

Second-generation antihistamines, which have fewer or no such effects, are now recommended by many doctors. These include:

  • cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • desloratadine (clarinex)
  • fexofenadine (allegra)
  • loratadine (Alavert, Claritin)


A bronchodilator can help when main symptoms include wheezing or coughing. Examples of bronchodilators include:

  • albuterol (ProAir HFA, Ventolin HFA)
  • formoterol (Foradil Aerolizer)
  • salmeterol (Serevent Diskus)
  • theophylline (Uniphyl, Theo-24, Theo-Dur)


Corticosteroids can be taken by mouth, intravenous injection, or applied directly to the skin. They act more slowly than antihistamines, but last longer and can provide relief from some of the more serious symptoms of a drug allergy. These include:

  • beclomethasone (Becona)
  • fluticasone furoate (Veramyst)
  • fluticasone propionate (Flonase)
  • mometasone (Nasonex)


In acute anaphylaxis cases, epinephrine should be taken by injection as soon as possible. An emergency medical response team will be able to administer an emergency dose of epinephrine.

Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Edited by:
Medically Reviewed by: Stephanie Burkhead, MPH
Published: Aug 25, 2010
Published By: Healthline Networks, Inc.
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