Drug Allergy Symptoms
The term drug allergy refers to a group of symptoms caused
by allergic reaction to a drug. Many drugs have side effects such as stomach
upset or headache; however, these symptoms do not indicate an allergic
reaction. As with other allergies, the symptoms may cause only mild discomfort,
or they may be severe and even life threatening.
Common Symptoms of Drug Allergy
During an allergic reaction, you may have one or more of
the following symptoms:
- skin rash
- itching of skin or eyes
- facial swelling
- joint aches or swelling
- tender lymph nodes
- shortness of breath
Symptoms of Severe Drug Allergy
Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction.
Anaphylaxis symptoms include:
- tightening of the throat that causes breathing difficulty
- extremely low blood pressure
- weak, rapid pulse
- swelling of the lips, mouth, or eyelids
- abdominal pain
- nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- palpitations (sensation of rapid or fluttering heartbeat)
When Do Symptoms Occur?
In many cases, a drug allergy
will not be apparent the first time you use a particular drug. In fact, you may
use a drug several times without any reaction. However, when an allergy
develops, the symptoms will usually appear soon after you take the drug.
Anaphylaxis symptoms usually begin within moments of taking the drug.
When to Call Your Doctor
You should contact your doctor
any time you experience an unexpected symptom from a drug. If you experience
mild allergic symptoms, you can usually treat them by stopping the drug;
however you should still consult with your doctor to rule out other possible
causes for your symptoms. If you are able to see your doctor while you are
experiencing the reaction, it may help your doctor confirm the cause of your
symptoms and also determine the best course of treatment, or to find a
When to Seek Emergency Care
If you experience any severe
symptoms from a drug, you should seek emergency medical care immediately.
Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition. Symptoms of a serious reaction
- swelling or tightening of the throat
- rapid pulse
- loss of consciousness