Food Allergy (cont.)
Food Allergy Medications
The choice of medication and how it is given depends on the severity of the reaction.
- This drug is given only in very severe reactions (anaphylaxis).
- Epinephrine is injected and acts as a bronchodilator (dilates the breathing tubes).
- It also constricts the blood vessels, increasing blood pressure.
- Another medication with similar effects may be given instead.
- For a less severe reaction involving the respiratory tract, an inhaled epinephrine bronchodilator may be used, as in asthma.
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- This drug reverses the actions of histamine.
- Diphenhydramine is injected when quick action is required.
- It may be given by mouth for a less severe reaction.
- One of these drugs is usually given via IV at first for rapid reversal of the effects of the mediators of the allergic response.
- These drugs should not be confused with the steroids taken by athletes to build muscle and strength.
- These drugs reduce swelling and many other symptoms of allergic reactions.
- The person may need to take an oral corticosteroid for several days after this.
- Oral corticosteroids are often given for less severe reactions.
- A corticosteroid cream or ointment may be used for skin reactions.
- Other medications may be given as needed.
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