Drug hypersensitivity can be an unexpected and, in some cases, severe reaction to a medication. This can present a medical emergency which requires care in an emergency room. Patients who have had previous drug hypersensitivity reactions can turn to Silver Falls Dermatology in Oregon and Washington for options including allergy testing or immunotherapy in addition to treating dermatologic symptoms.
What is Drug Hypersensitivity?
Drug hypersensitivity refers to an allergic reaction to medications. This reaction is often severe and unexpected. Patients may hear the terms “drug allergy” or “drug reaction” used interchangeably with “drug hypersensitivity.” Your provider may classify reactions as either immune or non-immune, falling into categories of allergic or pseudo-allergic.
Drug Hypersensitivity Symptoms
Drug hypersensitivity can affect any organ system and may imitate a range of diseases. This means that drug hypersensitivity can manifest in a wide variety of symptoms. The most common reactions are dermatologic, with patients often experiencing rashes, itching or swelling. This is most common in the trunk and can eventually spread to the limbs. Drug hypersensitivity as a result of topical medications typically presents similarly to eczema. Anaphylaxis may also occur, which can be life-threatening and present a medical emergency.
Drug Hypersensitivity Treatment Options
Initial treatment of drug hypersensitivity is focused on relieving symptoms. This can include options such as antihistamines or bronchodilators. In cases of anaphylaxis, emergency medical treatment may be necessary.
Allergy testing and immunotherapy may also be recommended. This will allow patients to better manage their future medical care or reduce potential reactions to drugs. Your provider will explain your best options.