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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:

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  • 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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