Any time a person hears that someone has an adverse reaction to a drug, they may say that this person had an allergic reaction to the medication. And while this is common to hear, it’s not 100 percent accurate. This is because the majority of negative reactions that are caused by taking medications are not allergies but instead simply an adverse reaction to the drug. At our allergy center, we can help you determine if you are experiencing medication allergies.
How Do You Know if You Have Medication Allergies?
In order to be a real allergy, the immune system of the patient would need to react with the drug. An allergy is when a person’s immune system reacts in an abnormal way to a substance that would be harmless to most people. Your immune system has a singular purpose, which is identifying dangerous foreign substances and getting rid of them. When your immune system works well, it protects you from getting sick and contracting dangerous diseases. However, when a person is faced with medication allergies, their immune system is oversensitive. It sees a drug as if it were a dangerous invader and begins to attack it vigorously.
Diagnosing Drug Allergies
Our doctor can help you diagnose any medication allergies you may be experiencing. We can use a variety of methods to test and diagnose your allergies if they are present.
One common problem is that many patients who have a drug allergy are taking multiple drugs at the same time. So, the allergist will need to work to identify which of the many drugs is causing the allergic reaction. If there is no way to identify the offending drug, then our doctor may need to resort to other measures.
An allergy test can be used to determine which drug is causing the negative reaction. Unfortunately, allergy tests are only available for certain drugs. The most reliable and frequently used to test is for an allergic reaction to penicillin.
Our doctor may give you what is referred to as a drug challenge. During the drug challenge, a small amount of the suspected medication is introduced into your body. The amount of the drug is gradually reduced as the doctor observes you. If a clear allergen is identified, you will likely be advised to stop taking that medication entirely.
Symptoms of Medication Allergies
There are a lot of signs or symptoms that show that you are experiencing medication allergies. General reactions range from shortness of breath to vomiting to wheezing to fainting.
Learning about medication allergies can save your life. Proper testing can help you determine which drugs you should take and which ones you should avoid. If you suspect you may be experiencing medication allergies, we can provide you with a proper diagnosis at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic. We have several offices in California, Oregon and Washington. Contact us today to schedule your first appointment and learn about any allergies you may be experiencing.