Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Allergies Health Center

Font Size

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 weeks to appear.

Recommended Related to Allergies

Angioedema, Hereditary

Important It is possible that the main title of the report Angioedema, Hereditary is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Read the Angioedema, Hereditary 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 Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on October 23, 2012

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?
 

woman sneezing
Slideshow
Bottle of allergy capsules and daisies
Article
 
Urban blossoms
Slideshow
Woman blowing nose
Slideshow
 

Woman with itchy watery eyes
Slideshow
Allergy prick test
VIDEO
 
Man sneezing into tissue
Tools
woman with duster crinkling nose
Quiz