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Most Common Drugs That Cause Allergies

Any drug can trigger an allergic reaction. That said, some are more likely to cause allergy-related problems than others.

  • Antibiotics -- amoxicillin, ampicillin, penicillin, tetracycline, and others
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs -- Advil, Motrin, Nuprin (ibuprofen); Aleve, Anaprox (naproxen); and others
  • Aspirin
  • Sulfa drugs
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Monoclonal antibody therapy -- Erbitux (cetuximab), Rituxan (rituximab), and others
  • HIV drugs -- Viramune (nevirapine), Ziagen (abacavir), and others
  • Insulin
  • Antiseizure drugs -- Carbatrol, Epitol, Equetro, Tegretol (carbamazepine); Lamictal (lamotrigine); Dilantin, Di-Phen, Phenytek (phenytoin); and others 
  • Muscle relaxers given intravenously -- Anectine (succinylcholine), Norcuron (vecuronium), Tracrium (atracurium)

How you take a drug plays a part, too. Here are four things that increase your odds of having a drug allergy:

Recommended Related to Allergies

Food Allergies: Tips for Eating Out

Having a food allergy used to mean dining out was limited to carrying your plate from the kitchen to the porch or, at best, eating at the home of a close friend or relative who could guarantee your food offenders were nowhere in sight. Today, however, eating out is a lot easier -- and safer -- for the 2 million Americans who suffer with a mild, moderate, or even a severe food allergy.  One reason: Restaurants are more aware and more prepared. "The awareness of food allergies has definitely...

Read the Food Allergies: Tips for Eating Out article > >

  • Getting the drug by injection instead of by mouth
  • Using drugs that you rub directly on the skin
  • Taking the drug often

Many drugs can cause reactions that aren’t true allergies, even though they can range from mild side effects to dangerous symptoms. Some drugs that commonly cause non-allergic symptoms include:

  • Heart disease medications called ACE inhibitors (Capoten, Lotensin, Monopril, Vasotec, Zestril and others)
  • Contrast dyes for X-rays and CT scans
  • Some chemotherapy drugs

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on October 22, 2012

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