What Are the Warning Signs of a Prescription Drug Allergy?

Prescription medications are often a necessary treatment for an ailment. If your doctor tells you to take it, find out why and learn if it is the best choice for your specific situation. However, it is also critical for you to fully understand the risks that come with taking that medication – including the risk that you may have an allergy to it. 

All medications can cause side effects in some people. According to data from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, only 5 to 10 percent of people will have an allergic reaction to a medication. Side effects are not allergies in many cases. However, if your side effects are severe, you absolutely should get medical attention before continuing the use of new medications. Speak with a Portland medication prescription error attorney from Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC today.

Symptoms of a Drug Allergy

There are instances in which a person can suffer a serious drug allergy. These are medical emergencies warranting care from 911 in many situations. Many times, these allergy symptoms begin to appear within an hour of taking the medication, though some may take only minutes. Other allergies are less obvious and may take several days to become evident.

The following are some of the most common symptoms of a drug allergy that warrant immediate care:

  • Skin rashes
  • Fever
  • Swelling of the throat, making it hard to breathe
  • Swelling in other areas of the body
  • Hives
  • Intense itching
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose

Another potential side effect is anaphylaxis, which is a rare medical emergency that may occur if a person has a high level of sensitivity to medication. It causes widespread dysfunction throughout the body and can be an immediately life-threatening complication. The symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • Tightening of the throat and airway, making it hard for a person to breathe
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Seizures
  • Passing out and a loss of consciousness
  • Weak but face pulse
  • Drop in blood pressure

If you experience what you believe is a drug allergy, your first and most important first step is to contact the emergency department to get medical care. Do not continue to take that medication until you speak to a doctor about the risks of doing so.

Other Harder-to-Pinpoint Symptoms of Drug Allergies

There are some other situations that may indicate that a person is allergic to a drug. These are likely to take some time to develop, and that makes it harder to connect them to the onset of the drug’s use. Common symptoms here include:

  • Serum sickness, which causes joint pain, swelling, and rashes
  • Drug rash, eosinophilia, and systemic symptoms that cause a high white blood cell count, swelling, and swollen lymph nodes
  • Drug-induced anemia, which occurs when there is a substantial reduction in red blood cells and can lead to irregular heartbeats and fatigue

In situations where there is a risk that you may be allergic to a drug, it is wise to get medical attention. In every situation, a provider should ask about known allergies and not prescribe medications you could be at risk for being allergic to. If they fail to exercise proper caution when making a prescription, you may have the foundation of a medical malpractice lawsuit in Portland.