Medicine Allergy

Medicine Allergy

Drug allergy is an overreaction of the body's immune system (immune system) to a drug used. This reaction occurs because the immune system perceives the substance in the drug as a substance that can harm the body.

Please note, drug allergies are different from the side effects of drugs that are usually listed on the packaging, or drug poisoning due to overdose . Although rare, drug allergies can occur in anyone, both  children  and adults.

Causes of Drug Allergies

Drug allergy is caused by an overreaction of the immune system due to consumption or use of drugs. When the immune system detects the incoming drug and considers it dangerous, it will appear specific antibodies for that drug.

Specific antibodies will then secrete a compound called histamine. Histamine is what causes complaints and symptoms of drug allergy.

A drug allergy is not the same as a sensitivity to a drug. Although it can cause similar symptoms, sensitivity to drugs does not involve the role of the immune system as occurs in drug allergies.

Types of drugs that can cause allergic reactions

Almost any drug can trigger an allergic reaction. However, there are some drugs that often trigger allergic reactions, namely:

  • Antibiotics , such as penicillin and  sulfa
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers   (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen
  • Anticonvulsants  (anticonvulsants), such as carbamazepine and lamotrigine
  • Medicines for autoimmune diseases
  • Chemotherapy drugs

Drug allergy risk factors

Not everyone will experience an allergic reaction to medication. There are allegations, a person is more at risk of developing drug allergies if he has the following factors:

  • Suffering from other types of allergies, such as  allergic rhinitis  or food allergies
  • Have a family member who is allergic to certain drugs
  • Using certain drugs repeatedly, in the long term, or in high doses
  • Suffering from diseases that are often associated with allergic reactions, such as HIV infection and  the Epstein Barr virus

Drug Allergy Symptoms

Symptoms and  signs of drug allergy  can appear 1 hour or a few days after taking the drug. Complaints that arise can be:

  • Rashes  or bumps on the skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Runny and stuffy nose
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, and face ( angioedema )
  • Wheezing or wheezing when breathing sounds like a whistle
  • Hard to breathe
  • Fever

When to go to the doctor

Stop using the drug and  go to the doctor  or hospital emergency room immediately if you experience allergy symptoms as mentioned above after taking the drug. Moreover, if you experience symptoms of anaphylactic shock, which include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blueness of the skin
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, or  diarrhea
  • Pulse is slow or fast
  • Seizure
  • daze
  • Faint

Anaphylactic shock is an emergency condition that can be fatal, because it can cause disturbances in the function of the body's organs. This condition requires treatment as soon as possible.

Drug Allergy Diagnosis

The doctor will ask questions about the complaints experienced by the patient, the drugs used, the history of allergies, and the patient's medical history. Next, the doctor will perform a physical examination.

If needed, the doctor will conduct a supporting examination to find out more specifically the type of material that causes an allergic drug reaction in the patient. These inspections can be in the form of:

  • Skin test ( skin test )
    A skin test  for allergies using a sample of a drug suspected of triggering an allergic reaction. Substances in the drug will be exposed to the skin by means of affixed or through a needle puncture. Patients tested positive for allergies when the skin is red, itchy, or a rash appears.
  • Blood
    test This test aims to rule out the possibility of other conditions that could potentially cause the patient's symptoms.

Drug Allergy Treatment

The goal of drug allergy treatment is to treat and relieve the symptoms experienced by the patient. Sometimes, the allergic reaction will go away on its own when the drug is stopped, but there are also those who need medication to relieve the allergic reaction.

Below are some medicines that can be used to treat allergic drug reactions:

  • Antihistamine class of drugs  , to inhibit the production of histamine so that complaints and symptoms can subside
  • Bronchodilators, such as albuterol, to reduce symptoms of coughing or wheezing
  • Oral or injectable corticosteroid drugs  , to treat inflammation of allergic reactions
  • Epinephrine injection  , to treat anaphylaxis

In patients who experience anaphylaxis, intensive care in a hospital needs to be given immediately.

If the type of drug that triggers the allergy has been determined, the doctor will perform a desensitization procedure, by giving the allergy triggering drug in small doses while monitoring the appearance of symptoms. The dose will be increased every few minutes, hours, or days until you reach the required dose.

Drug Allergy Complications

Complications that can occur due to a severe allergic reaction is anaphylaxis. Anaphylactic shock will cause impaired function in several organs that regulate body systems.

In addition to anaphylactic shock, other conditions that can arise if drug allergies are not treated immediately are acute drug-induced kidney inflammation ( acute interstitial nephritis ). This condition can cause blood in the urine, fever, swelling in several parts of the body, and decreased consciousness.

Drug Allergy Prevention

The main step to prevent drug allergies is to avoid drugs that trigger allergies, for example by:

  • Wearing a bracelet or necklace that indicates you are allergic to certain drugs to inform others if you are unconscious
  • Tell your doctor or medical personnel that you are allergic to certain types of drugs, before undergoing treatment or medical action
  • Read over-the-counter drug labels carefully
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