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Drug Allergy Specialist

Suburban Allergy Consultants

Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Specialists located in Narberth, Havertown, West Chester, West Grove, & Coatesville, PA

When you need to take a drug but have concerns about a drug allergy, the team at Suburban Allergy Consultants can help. With offices in Narberth, West Chester, West Grove, Coatesville, and Havertown, Pennsylvania, the allergy, asthma, and immunology experts offer on-site, medically supervised skin tests to confirm your drug allergy. They also offer customized treatment to prevent serious health complications that can result from a drug allergy. Request a consultation with Corinna Bowser MD, FAAAAI, FACAAI, or Andrew Murphy MD, FAAAAI, today by using the online booking tool or by calling the office nearest you.

Drug Allergy Q & A

What is a drug allergy?

A drug allergy is a condition that develops when your immune system overreacts to certain medications. If you have an allergy to a drug, your immune system mistakenly identifies it as a threat and triggers a defensive response that results in allergy symptoms.

You can develop a drug allergy to any type of medication, including:

  • Herbal supplements
  • Prescription medications
  • Over-the-counter medications

An allergic reaction to a drug isn’t the same thing as a side effect of a drug. If you need to take certain medications to manage an underlying health condition, a drug allergy can interfere with your treatment.

What are the symptoms of a drug allergy?

Typically, symptoms of a drug allergy develop within an hour after taking the medication. These symptoms may include:

  • Hives
  • Fever
  • Skin rash
  • Wheezing
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Angioedema (swelling)

For those who have a life-threatening reaction to certain medications, known as anaphylaxis, sudden inflammation in the airways can lead to shortness of breath and an inability to take in enough oxygen. If left untreated, anaphylaxis can lead to loss of consciousness, seizures, and other serious health complications.

How is a drug allergy diagnosed?

Diagnosing a drug allergy involves a review of your medical history, the symptoms you experience, and the medications you’re taking.

To identify the specific substances that trigger an allergic reaction, your Suburban Allergy Consultants provider performs an in-office skin test. This involves pricking your skin with small amounts of a suspected allergen to evaluate how your body reacts.

Generally, a raised bump develops on your skin in the area of the injection. Your provider closely monitors your overall health during testing to prevent complications triggered by allergies.

How is a drug allergy treated?

If you can avoid the specific medication you’re allergic to, you may not need any additional treatment.

However, if you need a medication to treat an existing health condition and there are no alternatives, the Suburban Allergy Consultants medical team can create a treatment plan that helps you reduce the symptoms of an allergic reaction, allowing you to use the necessary medications.

Many with drug allergies benefit from taking an antihistamine that reduces inflammation and other symptoms of an allergic reaction. If you’re prone to anaphylaxis, your doctor can prescribe an injectable epinephrine medication that quickly reduces airway inflammation.

To confirm a drug allergy through skin testing, contact the Suburban Allergy Consultants office nearest you. You can request an appointment by phone or using the online booking tool.