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Drug reactions Tips

Drug Allergy - What All Should You Know?

Dr. Molly Joseph 95% (119 ratings)
Diploma In Allergy & Clinical Immunology, MBBS, MD - Paediatrics, M.Med - Family Medicine
Allergist/Immunologist, Kochi
Drug Allergy - What All Should You Know?

A drug is used to treat a health issue or a disease, but it can rarely happen that the drug itself can cause an allergic reaction. Read on to know more about important things you must know about drug allergy.

What leads to a drug allergy?

The body’s immune system identifies any trigger as an antigen and produces “antibodies” to fight the antigen. It can, however, rarely happen that the drug itself can turn out to be an antigen and trigger the production of antibodies. There is a slight difference between side effect and allergy caused by a drug.

While a side effect will be seen in almost any person who takes it, the allergic reaction to a drug is based on the person’s immune system. A weakened immune system has a higher chance of triggering a drug allergy. For instance, steroids have the side effect of increasing sugar levels, whereas penicillin causing anaphylaxis is an example of a drug allergy.

A side effect may sometimes be positive too; however, a drug allergy is almost always negative.

Another aspect also is to note that a drug allergy may disappear over a period of time.

Possible drugs causing allergies:

  1. Antibiotics like penicillin and sulfa drugs
  2. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
  3. Chemotherapy drugs
  4. Aspirin

Kinds of drug allergies: While there are many drugs which can cause minor allergies like a rash, there are some which could have a life-threatening effect. Anaphylaxis, for instance, can be very dangerous, and if not immediately attended to, can even cause death. Most often though symptoms include irregular heartbeat, swelling, and difficulty breathing.

Treatment of drug allergies:
For mild drug allergies, if the drug is critical for improving health, then the doctor can choose to continue the drug and give another drug to control the reaction.

However, if the reaction is severe, then an alternate needs to be given so that the health is taken care of, without causing a severe allergic reaction. Some common agents used to treat drug allergies are listed below:

  1. Antihistamines: Most allergic reactions are associated with the release of increased amounts of histamine. Therefore, antihistamines are used which can be used to control symptoms like swelling, redness of eyes, itching, and rashes. These can be used as eye drops, nasal spray, creams, or tablets.
  2. Corticosteroids: Often used to control overall inflammation and used in managing symptoms related to airways.
  3. Bronchodilators: If there are issues relating to breathing and chest tightness, this class of drugs are used.

Be frank with your doctor and tell any reaction you might notice. When having future surgeries, including dental, let the doctor know about your allergy.  In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

4347 people found this helpful

Drug Induced Skin Pigmentation - How It Happens?

Dr. Aanchal Sehrawat 85% (93 ratings)
MBBS, Diploma In Dermatology & Venerology & Leprosy (DDVL), DNB Dermatology
Dermatologist, Gurgaon
Drug Induced Skin Pigmentation - How It Happens?

Drug related pigmentation errors are usually characterized by a topographic distribution and can lead to prominent discoloration in areas that are especially affected by the sun. It is a rather common phenomenon and accounts for a startling 10-20% of the total cases of hyperpigmentation that are acquired. The condition might be induced by drugs of varied nature, ranging from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications or NSAIDs and antipsychotic drugs to phenytoin and anti-malarials.

What can lead to it?
A number of causes tend to contribute to this factor by speeding up the process of pigmentation that isn’t natural or expected in any manner whatsoever:

  • Certain drugs happen to react with the melanin of your system to form what is observed to be a drug-pigment complex. Exposure to too much sunlight has a way of stimulating sun-induced synthesis of melanin for the formation of such complexes.
  • Quite a number of heavy metals are seen to deposit in the dermal region following significant damage to the patient’s dermal vessels. A visible change in the complexion will then be observed without there being any increment in the melanin component.
  • Hypermelanosis might be induced by certain other drugs in the form of changes that are non-specific post-inflammatory in essentially predisposed individuals.
  • Some drugs tend to induce or trigger pigmentation directly by the accumulation of or reaction with certain specific substance of the patient’s skin.

Treatment
Despite the fact that the condition of drug-induced pigmentation of the skin is mostly benign, it might prove to be an otherwise disfiguring factor when perceived cosmetically. In most cases, one may observe that once the affecting drug has been terminated from regular dosages, fading of most lesions will occur. However, in most cases, the pigmentation tends to last for a longer span of time and ultimately becomes permanent. Since most drugs and medications that cause skin pigmentation also happen to be the cause of photosensitivity reactions, patients are recommended to make proper use of sun protection. You may also opt for laser treatments that have been developed in recent years to correct the problem of pigmentation.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3475 people found this helpful

Drug Eruptions - Can They Be Managed?

Dr. Ashutosh Mehta 89% (124 ratings)
DDV, MBBS
Dermatologist, Nagpur
Drug Eruptions - Can They Be Managed?

Drug eruptions are mild to severe skin conditions, where the skin shows some form of drug induced adverse reaction, which may be visible or not visible, but causes discomfort, pain, visible lesions and hives or rashes, etc. on the patient's body or some areas of the skin. This is caused when a drug given, for some reason, causes side effect or extra reaction. Often drug reactions are not serious or fatal except in some cases and can be controlled once the causative drug is withdrawn from administration. 

Types of drug eruptions:
The common drug eruption types are as follows:
Type 1- Urticaria, anaphylaxis, or angio-oedema, which happens due to mediation of IgE and protein such as insulin.
Type 2- Purpura and haemolysis induced by a cytotoxic reaction for the administration of sulfonamides, penicillin, rifampin and cephalosporins.
Type 3- Due to the action of sulfonamides, salicylates, and chlorpromazine a complicated reaction develops resulting in serum sickness, vasculitis and urticaria.
Type 4- These reactions, which are caused by the hypersensitivity of cells and come in a delay cause photoallergic reactions, contact dermatitis, or exanthematous reactions. They are most common types of reactions and occur when the drug is applied topically. 

All of these types show how drugs can cause several different types of reactions. Though eruptions are visible on skin, some discomforts are not visible, and then it takes time for diagnosis. However, diagnosis of the reason behind drug eruptions has to be done as soon as possible to avoid further serious types of reactions like anaphylaxis and angioedema

Managing drug eruptions
Management of drug eruptions has to be tactful. Often drugs are taken by patients who have a lot of problems, or sickness, and are not fully fit. Moreover, they take not just one drug, but a bunch of drugs for several problems in the body. Therefore, to understand which drug caused the problem and discontinue that one is often a challenge.  However, it has been seen that discontinuing the affecting drug really helps to get the eruptions eliminated after some time. However, to stop a drug when it is most needed for a certain problem or cure and that too by diagnosing the exact drug takes some time and needs experimentation from the medical caregiver or doctor.

While the drug is still continued, treatment with antihistamines, epinephrine and corticosteroids is done to relieve the patient from the pain and discomfort. If antibiotics are given to the patient, they are stopped to see how the body reacts. To avoid an eruption sometimes premedication can be done to soothe the eruptions in case of patients with a drug eruption history. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2996 people found this helpful

Drug Rashes - How To Manage Them?

Dr. Shaurya Rohatgi 90% (5943 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Dermatology , Venereology & Leprosy
Dermatologist, Mumbai
Drug Rashes - How To Manage Them?

Drug rashes are generally defined as the reaction of the body to certain kinds of diseases. Different drugs result in different kinds of diseases which sometimes are as dangerous as being life-threatening. There are different types of drug rashes. They can manifest in different forms. Common ones are:

  1. Blisters and swelling: Many drugs result in acute blisters and swelling in different parts of the body. This condition, if unchecked, may aggravate, leading to dangerous consequences.
  2. Prolonged high fever: Continuous rise in fever is often diagnosed as a serious consequence of certain drugs.
  3. Abnormal redness of the skin: Few medicines often result in sudden reddening of the skin. This condition continues till the drug is discontinued.
  4. Rash and itching: This is considered as one of the most common side-effects of medicines. Often medicines result in continuous itching and rashes on the skin that also causes swelling, if unchecked.
  5. Swelling of tissues: Tissues often swell up as a result of consumption of certain medicines. Consequently, the concerned person experiences problems in breathing and often a drastic fall in blood pressure.

However, there are ways that one can adopt in order to combat drug rashes.

  1. Identify and discontinue the drug: One of the most essential ways of combating drug rashes is to identify the drug and immediately discontinue its consumption.
  2. Avoid using chemicals: One way of easy recuperation is to avoid using chemicals, soaps on the affected areas. If continued to use, they aggravate the already caused damage. On the other hand, Calamine can be used for treating drugs.
  3. Wear loose-fitting clothes: Wearing tight clothes that sticks to the body further damages the skin. Instead, one should try to wear loose-fitted clothes that allow the skin to heal.
  4. Apply cool compresses: Taking cool showers or applying cool compresses over the affected areas significantly help to recuperate fast. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Dermatologist.
4885 people found this helpful

Cholinergic Urticaria - Signs, Symptoms And Treatment

Dr. Deepak Sharma 90% (101 ratings)
Diploma In Dermatologist, Venereologist and Laparoscopy, MBBS
Dermatologist, Rewari
Cholinergic Urticaria - Signs, Symptoms And Treatment

Cholinergic Urticaria is a skin problem that a dermatologist can diagnose and treat. The most common cause of this condition includes sweating. It may be of four types including poral occlusion, generalised hypohidrosis, sweat allergy and idiopathic. Mostly, the common triggers include heat and consequent sweat which can cause a variety of symptoms in the internal organs. Let us find out more about the signs, symptoms and treatment of this ailment.

  • Signs: There are many signs of the onset of this ailment including a rise in the body's core temperature after physical pursuits like running, workouts, eating spicy food, fever, hot showers and even emotional stress. When there is a persistent rise in the temperature every time you indulge in such activities, it may be time to take a look at symptoms so that the dermatologist can make a proper diagnosis.
  • Skin Related Symptoms: Itching and burning sensation on the skin can point at the presence of this disease. One may also find rashes that can appear on the arms and neck, as well as the areas where the skin folds and sweat percolates. Also, you may find tiny welts that can form in a cluster to give the appearance of a large growth or swelling.
  • Digestive Tract Symptoms: The digestive tract may also get affected which can lead to loose motions and cramps in the abdomen.
  • Respiratory Tract Symptoms: There are a variety of symptoms of this condition, including breathless and wheezing as well as changes in the respiratory tract.
  • Other Symptoms: Headaches, palpitations, nausea and salivation are other common side effects and signs of overall discomfort. In very rare cases, Anaphylaxis can also set in as a symptom of this condition.
  • Treatment: Ample measures will also need to be taken so as to avoid a heart attack due to sudden cooling and drops in temperature. The dermatologist can prescribe beta blockers like Propranolol as well as anti histamine drugs that can contain the symptoms of the allergic reaction. Regular everyday use of antihistamine drugs may be required for these patients. Immunosuppressants and leukotriene inhibitors can also be used in such cases.
  • Lifestyle Changes: The best treatment in such cases is avoiding the allergens that trigger or cause the condition. In many cases, the patient may have to stop exercising so as to avoid the severe symptoms. The patient will also need to avoid too much exposure to ultraviolet rays which can lead to rapid desensitisation as well as autologous sweat.

Patients suffering from this condition should record and report even the smallest change to the dermatologist so that there are no serious health implications in the long run. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dermatologist.

2866 people found this helpful

Medications And Drug Allergic Reactions

Dr. Pankaj Tiwary 90% (39 ratings)
MD - Dermatology, MBBS
Dermatologist, Patna
Medications And Drug Allergic Reactions

All drugs carry within themselves the potential to treat and harm the skin. Side effects of medicines are a common phenomenon, with variation in the intensities. Sometimes they are minor and do not require medications; however at other times they may require urgent attention and treatment.

Some allergies caused due to medications that primarily affect your skin are:

  1. Itches and rashes: Sometimes your body may be allergic to certain type of medications. If these drugs are taken by you then the immune system treats them as foreign invasions and triggers a reaction against them. In certain cases, on consuming a drug that your body is allergic to, a kind of white blood cell called T cells expand. Itching, rashes on the skin are common repercussions in such a scenario.
  2. Swelling on the face and throat: Often it happens that, on being administered a medicine or an injection, you may experience severe swelling on face and throat. This is an extreme case of medicinal side effect and is commonly known as anaphylaxis. This must be immediately treated and brought to the notice of a trained doctor. 
  3. Blisters: This is also an important potential side effect of a drug. On being administered a drug, you may experience an erosion on the surface of lips and eyes as a reaction against it. Immediate treatment and a consult to the doctor is imperative if you experience these symptoms. 
  4. Swelling of the tongue: If you have high blood pressure and if you take angiotensin converting enzyme, a swollen tongue and persistent cough are the possible side effects. 
  5. Flushing and itching: You may suffer from symptoms of flushing and itching as a possible side effect of the intravenous dyes that are used in the X-rays.
2729 people found this helpful

Drug Rashes and How To Combat Them

Dr. Amit Seth 89% (75 ratings)
MD, MBBS
Dermatologist, Delhi
Drug Rashes and How To Combat Them

Drug rashes are generally defined as the reaction of the body to certain kinds of diseases. Different drugs result in different kinds of diseases which sometimes are as dangerous as being life-threatening. There are different types of drug rashes. They can manifest in different forms. Common ones are:

  1. Blisters and swelling: Many drugs result in acute blisters and swelling in different parts of the body. This condition, if unchecked, may aggravate, leading to dangerous consequences.
  2. Prolonged high fever: Continuous rise in fever is often diagnosed as a serious consequence of certain drugs.
  3. Abnormal redness of the skin: Few medicines often result in sudden reddening of the skin. This condition continues till the drug is discontinued.
  4. Rash and itching: This is considered as one of the most common side-effects of medicines. Often medicines result in continuous itching and rashes on the skin that also causes swelling, if unchecked.
  5. Swelling of tissues: Tissues often swell up as a result of consumption of certain medicines. Consequently, the concerned person experiences problems in breathing and often a drastic fall in blood pressure.

However, there are ways that one can adopt in order to combat drug rashes.

  1. Identify and discontinue the drug: One of the most essential ways of combating drug rashes is to identify the drug and immediately discontinue its consumption.
  2. Avoid using chemicals: One way of easy recuperation is to avoid using chemicals, soaps on the affected areas. If continued to use, they aggravate the already caused damage. On the other hand, Calamine can be used for treating drugs.
  3. Wear loose-fitting clothes: Wearing tight clothes that sticks to the body further damages the skin. Instead, one should try to wear loose-fitted clothes that allow the skin to heal.
  4. Apply cool compresses: Taking cool showers or applying cool compresses over the affected areas significantly help to recuperate fast.

If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Dermatologist.

4352 people found this helpful
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