Greg E. Sharon, M.D.
Priya J. Bansal, M.D.
A drug allergy, or an allergic drug reaction, is an unexpected drug PENICILLIN:
reaction that results from a specific immune system response Penicillin is the most prevalent allergy causing medication, with to a medication. Past tolerance to a medication is no guarantee that approximately 10% of patients reporting being penicillin-allergic. treatment with that drug will not cause an allergic reaction next time. However, when patients with a history of penicillin allergy are evaluated, People who who have allergies have a higher risk of drug reactions. time has lead to a cure. Many patients are candidates for Penicillin skin Certain families may have a higher than normal risk of drug reactions. testing because they have lost their allergy to Penicillin. This is because 80% of such individuals lose their sensitivity over a period of 10 years. In DRUG ALLERGY HISTORY
some cases, patients or doctors are unwilling to trust a negative skin test A thorough history is an essential component of the evaluation of result. To alleviate everyone’s apprehension and prove the medication’s patients with suspected drug allergies. The most important components safety unequivocally, most experts recommend a negative skin test be of a drug allergy history are as follows: followed by an elective oral challenge to Penicillin.
These are cousins to penicillin and can cross-react in a penicillin What is the name of the medication?
allergic person. This means if you’re allergic to penicillin and have never Although it may be obvious that a drug allergy history starts with the taken one of the cephalosporins before the body may have learned an name of the implicated medication, frequently patients are unable to allergy from the prior penicillin reaction. So now you can react to the class of antibiotics called Cephalosporins. This cross-reaction cannot be predicted by history alone. The rate of cross-reaction ranges from How long ago did the reaction occur?
ten percent to fifteen percent. Cephalosporins share a common four- The time elapsed since the reaction is important, because some allergies, member beta-lactam ring with penicillin. Cephalosporins appear to be such as penicillin allergy, are known to wane over time.
less allergenic than penicillins, particularly in causing IgE-mediated reactions. The incidence of anaphylaxis as a reaction to cephalosporins Which systems (eg, cutaneous, respiratory, gastrointestinal)
is also lower. Unlike penicillin, cephalosporin has no validated were involved in the reaction, and what was the time course?
diagnostic skin test reagents available. Skin testing using non-irritating concentrations of native cephalosporins is usually performed, but its What illness was occurring when the medication prescribed?
predictive value is less well studied.
Was the patient taking concurrent medications at the time of
the reaction?
Cipro, Levaquin, and Avelox can cause a reaction with the first dose you take in your life. They are a very strong and important class of Had the patient taken the same or a cross-reacting medication
medication and should not be used for minor infections. before the reaction?
These older medications can commonly cause a delayed, often Have you taken a similar medication since the reaction and
very itchy reaction. They can also lead to a very severe reaction, and tolerated it?
are sometimes fatal. Higher incidence is seen in AIDS patients and leukemics. Once you react to a sulfa you may never take one again. Sulfa Has the patient experienced symptoms similar to his or her
allergic patients are more likely then normal’s to react to Penicillin.
reaction in the absence of drug treatment?
Erythromycin Biaxin, Zpak, and Ketek are usually well-tolerated ALLERGIC REACTIONS:
and are the drugs of choice for Penicillin allergic patients. Immediate (within one hour of a dose) allergic reactions occur when Tetracycline Minocin, and Doryx are not commonly used except the body has developed a specific hypersensitivity (allergy) to a drug. for acne patients They can lead to severe reactions and are mostly The body will make a certain antibody called IgE. The IgE antibody a problem when combined with sun’s UVB radiation. only reacts with allergic cells. These allergic cells will release chemicals, like histamine, responsible for causing stuffy nose, sneezing, itching, Delayed Reactions: Reactions appearing after one hour are classified as delayed, although most delayed reactions begin after six hours, and typically not until days after treatment.
303 East Army Trail Rd, Ste 403, Bloomingdale, IL 60108 • (630) 894-7083 • Greg E. Sharon, M.D.
Priya J. Bansal, M.D.
These medications are used by the dentist or surgeon to freeze or numb your teeth or skin. Reactions can either be allergic or a side effect alone. We can perform a skin test to find safe alternate medications for PROSTAGLANDIN INHIBITORS:
Aspirin and like medications are more likely to react if you have asthma, recurrent sinusitis or nasal polyps. These drugs are in the group of medications that are used for the treatment of minor pains. Aspirin is the main problem, but other over the counter medications like Advil or Aleve also cause trouble. A pain reliever that is often safe in Aspirin allergic patients is Tylenol. Interestingly, if you react to aspirin, you might react to a common food dye called Tartrazine or yellow dye #5. NON-ALLERGIC REACTIONS:
Reactions to medications come in several forms, and not all are allergic. Some examples of non-allergic reactions include these: Side
effects of medications: Nausea and vomiting. Drug interactions:
Medications taken together can cause toxicity. Concurrent viral
infections: Medications taken during viral infections can cause
reactions. Delayed destruction of drugs: A build up of medicines can
cause intolerance. Non-Drug induced symptoms: Patients who receive
local anesthetics to numb a tooth sometimes complain that the drugs made them faint or feel ill when in fact the fear (pain) of the dental surgery is causing the reaction. Psychological effects: Stress, pain, fear
are powerful enough to induce fainting, hives, nausea and vomiting.
303 East Army Trail Rd, Ste 403, Bloomingdale, IL 60108 • (630) 894-7083 •



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