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If I'm allergic to a drug, will I know it right away?

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You may not have an allergic reaction the first time you take a drug. When you first take a drug, your body just becomes sensitized to it. The problem usually starts the next time you take it. By then, your body is prepared. As soon as it senses the drug in your body, it sounds the alarm and your immune system attacks.

People can have a reaction the first time they take a drug, or it may take several times. It differs from person to person.

From: Facts About Drug Allergies WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology: "Medications and Drug Allergic Reactions: Tips to Remember."

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

Levy, JH. , American Society of Anesthesiologists,  2005. Anaphylaxis and Adverse Drug Reactions

UpToDate: "An approach to the patient with drug allergy," "Rapid drug desensitization for immediate hypersensitivity reactions," "Drug Allergy: Classification and Clinical Features."

American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology: “Drug Allergy Overview.”

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on April 14, 2018

SOURCES:

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology: "Medications and Drug Allergic Reactions: Tips to Remember."

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

Levy, JH. , American Society of Anesthesiologists,  2005. Anaphylaxis and Adverse Drug Reactions

UpToDate: "An approach to the patient with drug allergy," "Rapid drug desensitization for immediate hypersensitivity reactions," "Drug Allergy: Classification and Clinical Features."

American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology: “Drug Allergy Overview.”

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on April 14, 2018

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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