Drug Allergies

Helping you stay safe, secure, and healthy

What are drug allergies?

Drug allergies occur when your body reacts strongly to over-the-counter or prescribed medications. This issue can often go unnoticed and undiagnosed until a drug is administered during medical treatment and causes a serious allergic reaction. It’s been estimated that severe drug reactions may be present in up to 10% of the worldwide population.

If you want to confirm whether or not you are allergic to a certain drug or class of drugs, the team at Premier Allergy & Asthma can help. We specialize in drug allergy diagnosis and treatment in central Ohio. Call us at (614) 328-9927 for an appointment today.

pillsallergic reactionman having allergiespill prescription

What causes drug allergies?


It’s possible for almost any kind of drug to cause an allergic reaction in your body. However, antibiotics such as penicillin are common causes of drug allergies. It’s been estimated that up to 10% of people in the United States are allergic to penicillin.

Aspirin and other pain relievers

Aspirin and other pain relievers like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may cause allergic reactions in some individuals, and are relatively common causes of drug allergies.


Some types of anticonvulsants like carbamazepine and lamotrigine may trigger severe allergic reactions. This can lead to a potentially fatal condition called anticonvulsant hypersensitivity syndrome, which is also known as AHS.

lady having an allergic reaction

Drug allergy symptoms

Drug allergies often manifest similarly to food allergies or other allergic reactions. Mild allergic reactions may cause a rash, wheezing, vomiting, feelings of dizziness, inflammation, and swelling. These symptoms may occur within 1-12 hours from taking the drug. 

However, serious drug allergies can result in anaphylaxis. This is an acute allergic reaction that may trigger an irregular heartbeat, breathing problems, or unconsciousness. 

One of the most difficult things about drug allergies is that they often do not occur the first time you’re treated with a particular drug. Even if you have been successfully treated with a certain drug in the past, it’s possible to develop an allergy to its use in the future.

Drug allergy solutions

Avoid using the drug

The team at Premier Allergy & Asthma can perform tests to diagnose your allergies, such as a skin test for penicillin allergies. This treatment allows providers to identify the drug and the severity of your reaction. It also allows your doctor to create a customized immunotherapy program that can build your body’s tolerance to the drug over time.

skin test
lady breathing

Mitigate the effects

If you have accidentally taken a drug to which you’re allergic, you may be treated with antihistamines, which help block the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Drug allergies that cause breathing difficulties may also be treated with inhalers and nebulizers containing corticosteroids and bronchodilators, which help relieve airway swelling, wheezing, and coughing.