Skip to content

Allergies Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Symptoms of a Drug Allergy

You may have some or all of these symptoms:

  • Hives -- itchy, bumpy, irregular patches on the skin
  • Rash
  • Itchy skin
  • Swollen face, lips, or tongue
  • Wheezing

Most drug allergy symptoms start right after you take the drug, but some may take hours, days or weeks to appear.

Recommended Related to Allergies

5 Ways to Beat Spring Allergies

At last, the first warm days of spring! Time to open the windows, pack away the winter coats, get out in the garden -- and head to the pharmacy to stock up on allergy medications. If you greet the arrival of spring each year with a stuffy nose and watery eyes instead of a happy heart, it's time to take a new look at your seasonal allergies. You may have been struggling with spring allergies for years, but that doesn't mean you can't learn a few new tricks about coping with them. With the help of...

Read the 5 Ways to Beat Spring Allergies article > >

When Symptoms Are Severe

A serious, widespread allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. It may affect skin, airways, and organs. It also happens very quickly after taking a drug, often within minutes or seconds.

Anaphylaxis is an emergency and is life-threatening. Symptoms include:

  • Trouble breathing or throat feels like its closing
  • Confusion
  • Cramping
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Hives covering much of the body
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shock or unconsciousness

If you have any of these symptoms, call 911. Use an epinephrine shot if you have one, and take antihistamines to help slow down the reaction. Even if the reaction goes away, you still need to go to the hospital.

Mild Drug Allergy: What You Should Do

Depending on your situation, your doctor may suggest that you:

  • Stop taking the drug. This may be enough to make symptoms go away. Remember that your doctor needs to know if you stop taking a prescribed medication.
  • Take an antihistamine, like Benadryl (diphenhydramine).
  • Use a prescription medication. Your doctor may want you to take a steroid medicine.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Stanley M. Fineman, MD, MBA on October 17, 2014

Today on WebMD

man blowing nose
Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
Allergy capsule
Breathe easier with these products.
 
cat on couch
Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
Which ones affect you?
 

blowing nose
Article
woman with sore throat
Article
 
lone star tick
Slideshow
Woman blowing nose
Slideshow
 

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

cat lying on shelf
Article
Allergy prick test
VIDEO
 
Man sneezing into tissue
Assessment
Woman holding feather duster up to face, twitching
Quiz