How Is An Allergic Reaction To Penicillin Treated
If your healthcare provider believes that your symptoms are caused by penicillin, he or she will likely advise you to stop taking it immediately and to take an antihistamine to help treat the symptoms of the allergic reaction. The provider may prescribe a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation or itching. Treatment with epinephrine may be necessary for severe reactions.
If the condition for which you started taking penicillin has not cleared up, your provider will most likely prescribe a different antibiotic. For most people, having an allergic reaction to penicillin does not mean that they will have a bad reaction to other antibiotics.
If you are diagnosed with a penicillin allergy, you should tell all of your providers, including your dentist and any specialists you see. Bring it up before undergoing any type of treatment or procedure. Describe your reaction to penicillin so the people caring for you are fully aware of your risk factors.
What Patients Should Know About Penicillin Allergies
As stated above, as many as 1 in 10 Americans reported having an allergic reaction to one of the forms of penicillin . However, the CDC and other leading research institutions like the Mayo Clinic, warn that many of these reported incidents arent actually penicillin allergies at all.
Further evaluation of the 10% of the population who reported having penicillin allergies showed that 90% of these individuals were not truly allergic to a form of penicillin. For the 1% of the population that is truly allergic, as many as 80% of these patients have dramatic decreases in sensitivity to the antibiotic 10 years later.
If so many patients arent really allergic, what is the problem? The problem begins when patients mistake certain side effects or symptoms as an allergy to penicillin, reporting this to their doctor, and their doctor prescribing a broad-spectrum antibiotic as an alternative.The problem with this approach is threefold:
Where To Get Help
- In an emergency, always call triple zero
- Emergency department of your nearest hospital
- NURSE-ON-CALL Tel. for expert health information and advice
- Medicines Line Tel. 1300 MEDICINE for information on prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines
- St John Ambulance Australia Tel. 1300 360 455
- Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia Tel. 1300 728 000
- 5 things clinicians and consumers should question 2015, Choosing Wisely Australia and the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. More information here.
Don’t Miss: Can Antibiotics Cause Eczema In Adults
Allergies To Aspirin And Other Pain
Aspirin belongs to a group of medications called NSAIDs that help to reduce fever, pain and inflammation.Side effects of high doses of aspirin that are not caused by allergies include bruising and stomach upset, but even higher doses can cause confusion and ringing in the ears. Allergic symptoms are different to these side effects and range from milder symptoms to anaphylaxis.If you already have allergic conditions such as hives, hay fever symptoms or asthma, you are more likely to develop an allergy to aspirin or other NSAIDs than people who do not have these symptoms.
What To Look For
When a child is having an allergic reaction, look for rashes, hives, raised areas, and swelling. There may be other symptoms such as respiratory distress, low blood pressure, and an altered mental status. Anaphylactic reactions, even for the same individual, may present themselves differently each time. It is important to know the many different types of reactions, as they can surface in various ways every time.
How Do You Treat An Amoxicillin Rash
If your child develops hives, you can treat the reaction with over-the-counter Benadryl, following age-appropriate dosing instructions. Dont give your child any more antibiotics until a doctor sees your child.
If your child has a rash other than hives, you can also treat them with Benadryl if theyre itching. You should check with your doctor before giving any more of the antibiotic, just to rule out the chance of an allergic reaction.
Unfortunately, rashes are one of those symptoms that can be very confusing. A rash could mean nothing. Or, a rash could mean that your child is allergic to amoxicillin. Any allergy can be very serious quickly, and even put your child at risk for death.
Symptoms Of A Penicillin Allergy
A penicillin allergy can cause life-threatening allergic reactions, but fortunately, most kids with a penicillin allergy have more mild reactions, leading to simple skin rashes such as hives.
Children with more severe symptoms will experience hives as well as wheezing, difficulty breathing or swallowing, or swelling in their mouth or throat, as well as anaphylaxisa serious allergic reaction.
If your child just has hives , you will likely notice red or pink raised areas on your childs skin that are itchy, varied in size, and come and go over several hours. They often dont go away completely, though. Instead, older hives go away in one part of your childs body, while new ones continue to appear somewhere else. Any individual hive shouldnt last more than 24 hours. If it does, then your child may have a similar skin rash, such as erythema multiforme, and not simple hives.
Erythema multiforme is an uncommon type of immune system reaction that can also be caused by a penicillin allergy or things like other drugs, bacterial infections, or viral infections. Unlike hives, which come and go, the rash from erythema multiforme usually continues to spread and may last for one to two weeks. Other symptoms of erythema multiforme can include fever, joint aches, mouth sores, and red eyes.
Recommended Reading: Excede Antibiotic For Cattle Withdrawal
Antibiotic Choice For Children With Penicillin Allergy
We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact .
It is not uncommon for caregivers or older pediatric patients to inform their pediatric health care provider of an allergy to penicillin. The lay public often loosely uses the word allergy with regard to medications, but hearing penicillin allergy by a health care provider is likely to raise a red flag. Eliminating the use of penicillin, amoxicillin and other beta-lactam antibiotics because of an allergy presents significant implications for antibiotic choice and infectious disease treatment.
Types of reaction
As readers of this column are aware, perhaps the most useful question to ask a caregiver or patient about a penicillin allergy is the type of reaction the patient experienced. A history of nausea, vomiting, loose stools or diarrhea when the antibiotic was taken may have been distressing to the caregiver or patient, but these effects are certainly not indicative of a type I allergic reaction the allergic reaction that is most concerning to health care providers.
Edward A. Bell
Likely not a true allergy
Campagna JD. J Emerg Med. 2012 42:612-620.
For more information:
Disclosure: Bell reports no relevant financial disclosures.
What Are Drug Rashes
Drug rashes are the body’s reaction to a certain medicine. The type of rash that happens depends on the medicine causing it and your response. Medicines have been linked to every type of rash, ranging from mild to life-threatening. The timing of the rash can also vary. It may appear right away or a few weeks after you first take the medicine.
Rashes caused by medicines can be put into one of 3 groups:
Rashes caused by an allergic reaction to the medicine
Rashes as an unwanted side effect of a certain medicine
Rashes from extreme sensitivity to sunlight caused by the medicine
Read Also: Do Dogs Need Probiotics After Antibiotics
What Is An Antibiotic Medication Allergy
An antibiotic medication allergy is a harmful reaction to an antibiotic. The reaction can start soon after you take the medicine, or days or weeks after you stop. Healthcare providers cannot know ahead of time if you will have an allergic reaction. Your immune system may become sensitive to the antibiotic the first time you take it. You may have an allergic reaction the next time. The antibiotics most likely to cause an allergic reaction are penicillins and cephalosporins.
Allergies To Sulfonamide Antibiotics
Sulfonamide antibiotics can cause allergic reactions, ranging from mild or severe rashes to anaphylaxis. Several sulfonamide antibiotics are available with a prescription in Australia, either alone or in combination with another type of antibiotic. If you have an allergic reaction after taking a combination antibiotic, you should visit your doctor to talk about which antibiotic is causing your allergy.Allergic reactions to sulfonamide antibiotics do not make it more likely that you will be allergic to sulfur powder, sulfite preservatives, or non-antibiotic sulfonamide medication, such as pain-relievers or water tablets .
Don’t Miss: How Long For Antibiotics To Work
How Is Penicillin Allergy Diagnosed
At Yale Medicine, patients who report a penicillin allergy can be tested for it. In addition to giving doctors a careful clinical history of past reactions, patients receive a skin test. The test is very quick and sensitive, and results are ready in about 30 minutes.
Penicillin skin testing is a two-step process:
The first step is skin prick testing . This involves injecting diluted penicillin into the skin. If an itchy bump appears, the patient is probably allergic to penicillin .
If the test is negative and a doctor needs to confirm whether or not the patient has an allergy, another test called a graded challenge may be needed to check for a reaction. With the graded challenge, the patient receives a small oral dose of penicillin, which is then increased as the patient is monitored for signs of allergy.
The process is repeated until the patient receives the full dose of penicillin. If theres no allergic reaction during this process, the patient is considered not to have a penicillin allergy.
Frequently Asked Questions About Penicillin And Penicillin
Is Penicillin a sulfa drug?
No, Penicillin and related drugs do not contain sulfa. Septra and Bactrim are sulfa containing antibiotics.
How do you know if youre allergic to penicillin?
You will exhibit any number of different allergic reactions such as a rash or hives, wheezing/shortness of breath, or in extreme cases may have dizziness, vomiting, seizures, or loss of consciousness. AASNFs medical staff can quickly provide testing services that will determine with certainty if your allergy symptoms are related to penicillin.
What happens if youre allergic to penicillin?
If youre truly allergic to penicillin, you will experience allergic reactions as your immune system attempts to combat what its perceived as a threat to your body. Youll usually have a rash or itchy skin, a runny nose, and itchy or watery eyes. When the allergy has been verified by a medical professional, a normal course of treatment for the symptoms includes over-the-counter antihistamines or prescription of corticosteroids. Generally, avoidance of penicillin is the first step in treatment.
When should you go to the ER for an allergic reaction?
Anaphylaxis is a serious, life-threatening reaction to an allergic substance. It can come in many forms but any kind of wheezing/shortness of breath, irregular blood pressure, loss of consciousness, or vomiting could be a sign that an anaphylactic response is occurring and you should call an ambulance or get to an ER as quickly as possible.
Don’t Miss: Low Dose Antibiotics For Recurrent Uti
Allergic Reactions To Antibiotics
A severe allergic reaction is known as anaphylaxis, and usually occurs within an hour of taking an antibiotic. A severe allergic reaction is a medical emergency requiring immediate medical attention. You may need to call triple zero and perform first aid.
The symptoms of anaphylaxis are:
- difficult/noisy breathing
Sometimes you can get less dangerous symptoms before an anaphylaxis, such as:
The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy recommends that for a severe allergic reaction adrenaline is the initial treatment. If you are allergic to antibiotics you may be instructed by a doctor how to avoid triggers and if severe may instruct you how to use a self-administered adrenalin injection such as EpiPen®. The doctor will record the allergy and type of reaction in your notes and electronic health records and will give you an anaphylaxis action plan.
Most allergies are caused by penicillin or antibiotics closely related to penicillin, or by another type of antibiotic called sulfonamides.
Feeling nauseous and vomiting after taking antibiotics is usually a side-effect of the medicine, rather than an allergic reaction.
If you have any other concerns about antibiotics, including possible side effects, contact your doctor.
Also Check: Which Antibiotic Works Best For Sinus Infection
Everything You Need To Know About Penicillin Allergies
Alexander Fleming first stumbled on penicillin as he grew bacteria in culture dishes in his London lab during September of 1928. Mold accidentally grew in the dishes and he noticed the mold had developed clear areas around itself where the bacteria could not grow. His discovery, and the subsequent scientific initiatives that allowed penicillin to be made widely available, is known as one of the greatest advancements in modern medicine.
Before the availability of penicillin, many bacterial infections were simply untreatable. People with life-threatening blood poisoning from a simple cut would be cared for in a hospital with little more than a wait and see approach. Today, penicillin comes in many forms and is still widely used to combat a range of bacterial infections. But in recent years, more and more patients have reported symptoms of penicillin allergies. In fact, according to the CDC, some 10% of patients in the U.S. report having had an allergic reaction to penicillin.
Read on as we explore how and why people develop allergies, proper identification, and what you can do to treat and prevent reactions.
Recommended Reading: Antibiotics For H Pylori Infection
Diagnosis Of Allergies To Medication
If you think you may have an allergy to a medication, keeping a record of your symptoms can help you and your doctor to understand what is causing your symptoms.In your diary, also include whether your symptoms occur:
- for a short time or longer how long the symptoms lasted
- at night, during the day or when you wake up
- after you have taken a particular medication, either prescription or over the counter from a pharmacy or supermarket
- after you have taken a herbal medicine
If you have allergic symptoms after taking medication, you should visit your family doctor who will ask some questions about your symptoms. Your diary will help you to answer these questions accurately. To diagnose your allergy, your doctor will refer you to a specialist doctor known as an allergist or clinical immunologist. Allergists can test for allergies using a number of methods, depending on the type of potential allergy. The allergist can test for allergies to some medication using a skin prick test or a blood test.Testing and treating allergies and hypersensitivities to medication can be difficult and allergists can also use:
- graded challenge four to five progressively larger doses of the medication are given up to the desired dose and any symptoms are recorded
- desensitisation treatment begins with a very small dose and then the dose progressively increases over hours to days, with the aim of switching off the allergic reaction to the medication
- cytotoxic food testing
- Vega testing
Allergies May Be Immediate Or Delayed
Drug allergies are still somewhat of a mystery, says Dr. Min Jung Lee, an assistant professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern. However, there are indications that frequent antibiotic use does make patients more susceptible to developing allergies.
The most common symptoms of the immediate reactions occur a half an hour to an hour after taking the medication, she says. Symptoms include swelling, vomiting, coughing and anaphylaxis.
Then there is the delayed reaction, which can happen after the entire series of antibiotic has been consumed. While still dangerous and often lengthy, delayed reactions move more slowly and any life-threatening symptoms usually can be treated with antihistamines and steroids.
Those pinprick spots on my forearms gave way to huge hives all over my body. The last week of December 2010, I went to the emergency room 3 times. Once in an ambulance, I developed large hives, fainted, had swollen lips, mouth sores, gum swelling, fullness in my throat, body aches and more.
Unlike food and seasonal allergies, drug reactions are difficult to understand and predict, says Dr. Corinna Bowser, an allergist at Narberth Allergy and Asthma clinic in Narberth, Penn.
The difficulty we are facing is that we just dont know what gets broken down into our bodies, she says. Its unpredictable. Whats the mechanism? Does it happen right away, will it happen later?
Recommended Reading: Over The Counter Antibiotics For Infected Cut
What Happens When You Have An Allergic Reaction
Allergists recognize four types of allergic reactions: Type I or anaphylactic reactions, type II or cytotoxic reactions, type III or immunocomplex reactions and type IV or cell-mediated reactions.
Allergic reactions are exaggerated sensitivities that occur when your immune system responds abnormally to common substances such as pollen, dust and certain foods.
These substances, called allergens, are harmless in a majority of people. But for those who are allergic, they can cause reactions upon skin contact or when they are breathed, swallowed or injected.
Allergic reactions are quite common and may happen seconds to hours after contact with the allergen. Some reactions may take more than 24 hours to appear. Though many allergic reactions are mild, others may be dangerous or life-threatening. They may be localized, involving a small part of the body or may affect a large area or the whole body.
An allergic reaction begins when you touch, inhale or swallow an allergen. In response to this trigger, the body starts making a type of protein called IgE or immunoglobulin E.