How to Find Out if You've Got a Drug Allergy

When your doctor tries to figure out if a medicine you take is triggering an allergic reaction, there's a bit of detective work involved. You'll need to work together to get at the truth.

One big way you can help is to ask yourself eight key questions, write down the answers, and bring that info to your next appointment:

  1. What medicines did you take before the reaction? What was the dose?
  2. What symptoms did you have?
  3. How quickly did they start after you took the drug?
  4. Did they change or fade over time?
  5. Did you do anything to ease the symptoms? Did it help?
  6. Have you had any drug allergies before? If so, to what?
  7. Do you have other allergies, such as nasal allergies to pollen or mold?
  8. Do you have any medical conditions?

Also bring a list of the medicines, vitamins, and supplements you use. Even better, put all the bottles in a bag and take them with you so your doctor can see them. If you suspect a medication caused a rash, you may want to take a picture of it to show your doctor.


WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on July 30, 2019



American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology: "Drug Allergy."

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: "Drug Reactions and Drug Allergies."

Solensky R. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, October 2010.

UpToDate: "An approach to the patient with drug allergy."

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