Drug Allergy (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
What Is the Prognosis for a Drug Allergy?
Most people who have mild to moderately severe allergic reactions to a drug do very well with prompt recognition and treatment.
There is currently significant interest in penicillin allergy due to cost of alternative antibiotics and the presence of resistant bacteria. Approximately 10% of the U.S. population reports a penicillin allergy. When thoroughly evaluated, however, more than 90% of patients with a penicillin allergy can tolerate penicillin-based antibiotics without difficulty. There are two common reasons for this misdiagnosis: individuals lose their penicillin allergy over time, or the initial reaction was not truly caused by penicillin. A penicillin allergy "label" not only limits an individual's choice of antibiotics, but it also puts individuals at risk of longer and costlier hospitalizations and puts them at greater risk for severe diarrhea caused by a bacteria called Clostridium difficile, also known as C. diff. Unlike many medications, there is excellent testing for penicillin allergy that can be performed by an allergist. Individuals with penicillin allergy should discuss the utility of this testing with their health-care providers.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/18/2016
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Drug Allergy - Symptoms and Signs
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Drug eruptions can mimic a wide range of dermatoses. The morphologies are myriad and include morbilliform (most common, see Media file 1), urticarial, papulosquamous, pustular, and bullous. Medications can also cause pruritus and dysesthesia without an obvious eruption.