Drug Allergy is a serious and relatively annoying health condition that cannot be cured. It’s our immune system that causes allergic reactions that is why it’s impossible to remove drug allergy. The best solution in this case is to know elements you’re allergic to and make sure the drugs you take do not contain it. The mechanism of drug allergy is the following.
Vast majority of drugs consist of multiple ingredients. If your immune system is hypersensitive to at least one of it, it considers this element an antigen (in other words alien “invader”) and produces special body chemical called antibody to destroy antigen. Antibodies that cause allergic reaction are widely known as Immunoglobulin E (you may see an acronym IgE).
When you take the drug you’re allergic to for the first time, your body just produces Immunoglobulin E and it’s yet not active. You need to take the drug once again until you notice the signs of allergic reaction. When taken for the second time, IgE wakes up histamines or “body mediators” and they cause allergic reaction. If you have ever seen anti-allergy drugs, you may have noticed they all are labeled as anti-histamine ones. It means these drugs suppress histamines’ actions.
The majority of drugs we take do not cause allergic reactions. The most dangerous groups for it are painkillers, antibiotics and anti-seizure drugs.
Painkillers or analgesics are powerful medications that need to act fast, so they are considered by our immune system as antigens most often. Medications like morphine, codeine, ibuprofen, aspirin or indomethacin are known as most frequent causes of drug allergy. Another “problem” drug is penicillin that is referred to antibiotics. Penicillin, tetracycline and sulfa drugs today are usually replaced by mild substitutes that are not so potentially dangerous. If you need to take anti-seizure drugs pay particular attention to your health state in case you’ve been prescribed carbamazepine (Tegretol) or phenytoin (Dilantin).
There is a series of risk factors that increase the possibility of allergic reactions. These are large doses of the drug (never take more drug then it’s prescribed or allowed), heredity (if someone in your family has allergy, then you have more chances to develop it too), injections (drugs taken in pills are less likely to cause allergic reactions), pollen or food allergy (patients who have allergy of one type should be careful as quite often allergy has a tendency to expand on new products or drugs).