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Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction to a Prescribed Drug

April 29, 2024 In Ozempic

When we take medication, it is usually with the belief that it will improve our health and well-being. The last thing we anticipate is an allergic reaction, but these reactions—although rare—can occur, leading to serious and potentially life-threatening consequences.

If you experience an allergic reaction to a prescribed drug, it is important to remain calm and seek medical attention as soon as possible. In situations where the manufacturer failed to warn about the risk of an allergy or if the condition was caused by another medication defect, you may be eligible for legal action. The Ozempic lawsuit attorneys at Shapiro Legal Group, PLLC are prepared to assist your family.

What Causes an Allergic Reaction to a Drug?

A drug allergy occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly identifies a medication as a harmful invader. This can lead to the production of antibodies and the release of chemicals, including histamine, which trigger allergy symptoms.

Initially, the body may not show any adverse reaction to the medication, creating a false sense of security. However, during this first exposure, the immune system can develop antibodies against the drug. Upon the next exposure to the same medication, these pre-formed antibodies recognize the drug and signal the immune system to attack.

This response triggers a cascade of immune reactions, which leads to the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Histamine and other chemicals released during an allergic reaction can cause a variety of symptoms, which range from mild to life-threatening. The severity and type of symptoms depend on the patient and the amount of drug involved in triggering the immune response.

Factors that may increase your risk of a drug allergy include having a history of other allergies, such as food allergies or hay fever, a personal or family history of drug allergies, and increased exposure to a drug due to high doses or prolonged use. Certain illnesses that affect the immune system, such as HIV or Epstein-Barr virus, may also increase susceptibility.

Signs That a Prescribed Drug Is Causing an Allergic Reaction

The signs of a drug allergy can vary from person to person and range in severity. These symptoms may occur immediately or even hours after taking the medication. Some of the most common symptoms may include:

  • Skin rashes
  • Hives
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in the face, lips, or tongue
  • Itching of the skin or eyes

Anaphylaxis is a very serious type of allergic reaction that can have life-threatening consequences. If you develop this condition, you will require emergency medical attention. Symptoms of anaphylaxis may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion
  • Rapid pulse
  • Low blood pressure
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Seizures
  • Lightheadedness
  • Hives in multiple areas
  • Loss of consciousness

If you experience symptoms of a drug allergy, seek medical attention right away. In cases of suspected anaphylaxis, call 911 and request emergency medical treatment as soon as possible. After receiving care, follow your doctor’s recommendations carefully and ensure that all healthcare providers are aware of your allergic reactions.

Common Types of Drugs That Cause Allergic Reactions

While any drug can potentially cause an allergic reaction, some medications are more commonly associated with allergies than others. Here’s a look at some of these drugs:

  • Antibiotics: These drugs, especially penicillins and cephalosporins, are some of the most common culprits of drug allergies. Antibiotics are widely used to fight bacterial infections, making them common agents that people are exposed to repeatedly.
  • Insulin: Used in diabetes treatment, insulin can provoke allergies, especially from animal sources. Human insulin is less likely to cause allergic reactions, but it can still trigger them in some patients.
  • Seizure Drugs: Certain medications for epilepsy and other neurological disorders can trigger allergic reactions. These drugs alter the neurological processes and can interact with the immune system in unpredictable ways.
  • Pain Relievers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like aspirin and ibuprofen, can cause both allergic and non-allergic reactions. These commonly used medications can affect various pathways in the immune system.
  • Autoimmune Disease Treatments: Drugs that modify the immune system can lead to allergic reactions. These medications alter the immune system’s functioning to treat autoimmune disorders, potentially making it more reactive to other substances.
  • Iodine-Containing Drugs: Used in radiographic imaging studies like CT scans, these can provoke reactions in some people. The iodine in these compounds can be recognized as a foreign substance by the immune system, triggering an allergic response.

Treatment Options for Drug-Related Allergic Reactions

When dealing with a drug-related allergic reaction, it is important to seek treatment to help manage the symptoms and prevent potentially dangerous complications. In most cases, treatment typically begins with antihistamines, which are used to alleviate mild symptoms such as rashes, hives, and itching. For respiratory symptoms like wheezing or a moderate cough, bronchodilators—medications that help relax the muscles in the lungs—are prescribed to widen the airways and ease breathing.

In cases of severe reactions, corticosteroids may be administered topically, orally, or intravenously to reduce inflammation. For life-threatening reactions such as anaphylaxis, the immediate administration of epinephrine is crucial; it is best to have an EpiPen on hand in case of a dangerous reaction.

After receiving initial treatment, it is essential to avoid the medication that triggered the allergy and any similar drugs. Informing all healthcare providers, including dentists and hospital staff, about any known drug allergies, can help prevent recurrence. If no alternatives to the medication exist, your doctor may try to desensitize you to the drug by gradually increasing doses of the allergen to build tolerance.

Your Legal Options After a Reaction to a Prescribed Drug

Occasionally, allergic reactions stem from issues beyond typical side effects, such as undisclosed risks or allergens not properly labeled by the manufacturer. If a drug manufacturer fails to disclose known allergens, and you suffer harm as a result, you might have grounds to file a lawsuit. You may also pursue legal action in cases where the reaction was due to a dangerous and undisclosed side effect of the drug.

The purpose of a defective drug lawsuit is to hold the manufacturer accountable for the safety of their products and to compensate you for damages related to the reaction, such as medical care and pain and suffering. To build the strongest possible case for your recovery, consult with an attorney who specializes in dangerous drug litigation. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options, advocating aggressively for your right to fair and full compensation.