Introduction Due to increase in the population that is having impaired
immunity and also as there is an increasing pool of aged population
because of the ever-lowering death rates, the incidence of allergies
is on rise.
Definition Drug allergy is an immunologically mediated reaction
to a drug, which is quite different from its pharmacodynamic profile.
It is entirely unrelated to its dosage. It is sometimes also called
Types There are many different types of drug allergies but broadly
there are two different types: a) Humoral It is further subdivided
into type I, type II and type III based on the type of cells involved.
Diagnosis Most commonly the signs and symptoms are redness, itching,
rashes, swelling and runny nose. These symptoms occur from within
few minutes to few hours. Whatever the symptoms, it is best to consult
your doctor as soon as possible because these may be signs of a
severe and even fatal reaction. One of the severe reactions is anaphylaxis.
It is not necessary that if a person did not get allergy from a
drug previously, he wont get it this time. Usually drugs from same
group should not be taken if a reaction has occurred from a drug.
The drugs most commonly implicated in drug allergies are penicillin,
cephalosporins, sulfa drugs , anti convulsants, aspirin and insulin.
Management a)Treatment The first and foremost thing is to consult
your doctor and if possible allergy specialist for he would be able
to determine two things: first, the allergen and secondly the cause
of the allergy. Finally when there has already been a reaction,
then to treat this, there are certain medicines such as Elidel,
Zyrtec, Flonase and Allegra. Elidel helps in itching and rashes.
It is a new and safe drug, which comes in a cream form. Zyrtec is
another safe drug. Because of its less likelihood of drowsiness
as compared to the other members of its group, it has received good
patient compliance. Besides being used for seasonal rhinitis it
is also used for runny nose in drug allergy. Flonase is another
drug which although being steroidal is non-habit forming. It relieves
the patients of stuffy nose because of congestion. It can also be
used in children. Allegra has similar use as zyrtec although it
is even less sedating. b)Prevention It is best said that to manage
in the best way any drug allergy is to stay away from the allergen
that is the drug.
Further research There are certain drugs such as xolair, which are
still in their incipient stage, and not much of data is available.