Allergic to Essential Medication?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 22, 2016


Serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, occur when mast cell chemicals flood the body, causing an array of acute symptoms.

What do you do when your body is not tolerating a medication that you need?

Patients fighting cancer, severe infections, autoimmune disorders, and many other conditions may become sensitized to the very drugs that are most effective in treating their diseases. These patients can suffer serious allergy symptoms, such as hives, flushing, itching, shortness of breath, wheezing, hypotension, and even anaphylaxis – a severe life-threatening allergic reaction.

Because of the potential allergic reaction upon re-exposure to these drugs, these patients are often told that they can no longer be treated with their best medication. A technique called drug desensitization can be used to help these patients get back on their medications.

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Drug Allergies – When Medication Can Make You Sick

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital August 18, 2015

Drug allergies can lead to hives, respiratory problems, and swelling.

On October 7, 2015, the public is invited to Discover Brigham, an event that will highlight the cutting-edge biomedical investigations of more than 3,000 researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). Topics include advances in sleep medicine, trauma care, surgery, and more. Today’s blog post previews the session on drug allergies.

Most of us can successfully take medications without problems. In some cases, however, our immune system reacts as if the drug is a threat, causing symptoms that may force us to discontinue treatment or avoid certain medications.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the most frequent types of allergic reactions to medications are skin rashes (particularly hives), itching, respiratory problems, and swelling, such as in the face. Anaphylaxis, a particularly severe allergic response, can be fatal if untreated.

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