Allergic Reactions by Ayala Fishel, Pharm D.

What is an allergic reaction? How can I manage my allergies? What should I do if I experience an allergic reaction to a medication?

An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system overreacts to a harmless substance known as an allergen. The first time a person with an allergy is exposed to the allergen, it may not cause a reaction. However, the person is then sensitized to the allergen and even minor future exposures to this allergen produce an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction typically triggers symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach or on the skin. For some people, allergies can also trigger symptoms of asthma. In the most serious cases, a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis can occur.  If it isn’t treated properly, anaphylaxis can be fatal.

The best ways to manage your condition are:

  1. Avoid allergens that trigger your allergic reactions (medications, food,       vegetation, etc)
  2. Be prepared for an emergency (Epi-Pen, Benadryl, etc)
  3. Be sure to talk to your healthcare providers about your allergies.
  4. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about any medication allergies you have.
  5. Ensure your loved ones and coworkers are aware that you have certain allergies.

 

In case you experience an allergic reaction to your medication do the following:

  1. Stop taking the medication
  2. If you are not experiencing asthma-like symptoms take an antihistamine such as Benadryl and seek medical care
  3. If you experience asthma-like symptoms and/or swelling of your face or tongue use the EpiPen and call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department
  4. Once the symptoms resolve, contact your physician to replace the medication and ensure continuity of care
  5. Ensure to record the medication as an allergy trigger

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