According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, severe drug allergies affect ten percent of the world's population.
Reacting to a medication can be a terrifying event, especially if a patient has never experienced a bodily reaction like that before. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure that an allergic reaction is managed.
If you think you may have a medication allergy, a drug allergy test can help. Keep reading to learn more.
What Are Drug Medication Allergies?
A drug allergy is a reaction to a medication. When you're allergic to a medication, your immune system reacts to the drug and can cause concerning symptoms.
Your immune system is designed to fight viruses, bacteria, and other dangerous substances. So if you have a reaction to a medication, your immune system mistakes the drug as a foreign invader.
An immune response in the body prompts inflammation, which can cause trouble breathing, a rash, or fever, among other signs and symptoms.
Drug Allergy Risk Factors
Like many other allergies, you may not realize you react to a particular medication until you take it for the first time. However, a few risk factors can increase the likelihood of a patient experiencing allergic reactions.
If you have a history of other allergies or a family history of a specific drug allergy, make sure your doctor knows that. Increased exposure to a drug, like through high doses or prolonged use, can also increase the chances of a reaction. Finally, certain illnesses, like HIV or the Epstein-Barr virus, increase the chances of a medication reaction.
Medications That Cause the Most Drug Allergies
While a patient can react to just about any medication, some drugs cause more allergic reactions. Some of those include the following:
- antibiotics and sulfa antibiotics
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
- chemotherapy drugs
The symptoms of a drug allergy may be so mild that the patient does not notice them. In other instances, the symptoms can be life-threatening. Anaphylaxis, which can cause inflammation, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, and unconsciousness, can occur with a severe drug allergy.
Methods for Diagnosing Drug Allergies
Drug allergies can be difficult to diagnose. You'll likely need to work directly with an allergist to get to the bottom of your reactions.
It's important to understand that there is a significant difference between side effects and a drug allergy. Medication side effects are not related to the drug's main purpose, while a drug allergy involves the immune system.
Depending on your reaction, there are different routes for diagnosing medication allergies. For example, like a food allergy, a penicillin allergy can be diagnosed through a skin test. Other times, allergic reactions can resemble other diseases.
In some instances, your doctor may suggest a blood test. However, medication allergy lab tests are most useful when diagnosing a delayed reaction to a drug or if your doctor is concerned that multiple organ systems could be affected by a medication.
Undergoing a Drug Allergy Test: What You Need to Know
If you require blood tests to diagnose your drug allergy, IgE tests are used to complete the allergy evaluation. Common examples include:
Blood tests are often used when allergy skin tests aren't appropriate, like if a patient cannot stop the medication that would affect the skin test results, or if a patient had rashes or lesions that prevent the allergist from accurately reading the test results.
Your allergist will explain any preparation for you to do before having your blood drawn by a phlebotomist.
Frequently Asked Questions About Medications Allergy Tests
While patients are likely to have many questions for their allergist about drug allergy testing, there are some frequently asked questions that we'll review below.
How long does it take for a drug allergy reaction to present?
This depends on the medication and how the patient's immune system responds to the drug. Some reactions can happen in a matter of minutes, while others can take hours or even longer to present.
How are drug allergies treated?
How a patient and doctor manages a medication allergy is dependent upon how severe the reaction is. With a severe reaction, the patient will likely need to avoid the drug entirely. A mild reaction can be managed with other medications.
Antihistamines, corticosteroids, and bronchodilators are commonly used to counteract the symptoms of a drug allergy. Which is chosen depends on the symptoms the patient experiences.
Do drug allergies last forever?
No. The immune system changes over time, which means it's possible a medical allergy could weaken or go away with time. However, there's also the chance it could get worse. Your physician will help you with managing your allergy.
Can drug allergies be prevented?
No. Unfortunately, drug allergies cannot be prevented. Once you have a diagnosis, the best form of prevention is to ensure your health care providers are aware of your allergy.
Contact Ulta Lab Tests
If you or your doctor thinks you may be allergic to a certain medication, a drug allergy test can confirm or deny that speculation.
When you order allergy tests for medications from Ulta Lab Tests, you can rest assured that the results will be highly accurate. From there, you can make informed decisions about your health. From there, you can make informed decisions about your health.
All of your results will be secure and confidential, and you don't need to worry about health insurance if you don't have a policy. In addition, we offer affordable pricing and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Order your lab tests today, and your results will be provided to you securely and confidentially online in 24 to 48 hours for most tests.
Take control with Ulta Lab Tests today!