Allergic reaction to antibiotics

Nowadays, several thousands of medications for different diseases treatment are used worldwide. Despite proven efficiency and safety of these drugs, they can cause some unusual reactions.

Thus, 15% of all side effects of drug therapy are allergic reactions. Several types of drugs provoke allergic reactions more than any other drugs do, these are:

  • Antibiotic substances (up to 55%)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (up to 25%)
  • Sulfanilamides (up to 10%)
  • Vaccines, vitamins, enzymes (up to 10%)

Allergic reaction to antibiotics is a natural reaction of the body to medication or its metabolites. The severity and frequency of allergic reaction depend on dosage of antibiotics and time people use them.

Usually, a single or preventive application of antibiotics does not cause side effects. A long-term parenteral use of high doses of antibiotics (like injections) increases the risk of allergic reaction.

The majority of allergic reactions to antibiotics have similar signs:

  • Occur in small number of people
  • Develop quickly in repeated administration of an allergen
  • Appear when using antibiotics with identical chemical structure

If a patient has allergic reaction to antibiotics, he should stop using the drug and determine the cause of this reaction. Hypersensitivity to antibiotics occurs either on the active pharmaceutical ingredient, or on excipients. If allergic reaction is caused by the active substance, then you need to use other antibiotic.

If doctor finds out that allergic reaction was caused by excipients, then you can buy and use some similar antibiotic drug by other pharmaceutical company. Typically, antibiotics manufacturers use different excipients. You can find the list of excipients in the leaflet.

It should be noted that frequent repeated antibiotic therapies increase the risk of side effects and allergic reactions. If you are sensitive to various allergens, you can buy antibiotics for a short-term therapy. Such medications rarely cause side effects.

Distributors of antibiotics supply same medications in different pharmaceutical forms. The safest pharmaceutical forms of antibiotics are tablets or capsules. Local application or parenteral route of administration of antibiotics increases the risk of adverse reactions.

There are risk factors of allergic reactions that do not depend on the type of used antibiotics. These factors are age, sex and constitution peculiarities (for instance, leanness). It must be said that drug allergy is milder and less harmful in elderly and children.

Antibiotics effects may vary from mild allergic reactions to severe and exhausting side effects. Treatment of allergic reaction to antibiotics should be started when the first signs and symptoms occur.

Hypersensitivity to antibiotics, as well as allergy to other medications can be determined according to Gell and Coombs classification. In some cases, symptoms of allergy may be dangerous for health. The most common allergic reaction to antibiotics is usually one of the listed below:

  • Rash, irritated skin, blisters
  • Anaphylactic shock
  • Drug fever
  • Low blood pressure
  • Edema and narrowing of the larynx

As well as other medications, antibiotics are not recommended for use during pregnancy. Except for the cases when it is a necessity. Allergic reaction to antibiotics during pregnancy is mostly the same in women, who are pregnant and who are not, yet it can be stronger.

One of the most common causes of antibiotic intolerance is considered penicillin. Antibiotics of this type require a special attention because of their popularity. In fact, penicillin causes side effects and leads to hospitalization more often than any other antibiotic drugs.

If you use antibiotics from time to time and you are allergic to penicillin, you must be aware what drugs you can take. Obviously, you should not buy antibiotics which name contains ‘Penicillin’ word.

At the USA pharmacies, you can buy several antibiotics which name has ‘Penicillin’ in it – Penicillin-Vk, Penicillin G Potassium, Penicillin G Sodium and others. The UK pharmacies offer to buy Penicillin-Vk (tablets and capsules) and Phenoxymethylpenicillin (granules for oral solution).

Antibiotics containing active substance Penicillin are also available under brand names containing no word ‘Penicillin’ (for example, Amoxicillin, Cilicaine Syringe, Bicillin, Penapar and V-Cillin). You may find the information on substances of the drugs in the leaflet.

Allergic reaction to antibiotics often occurs if drugs are used improperly. To maximally reduce the risk of adverse reactions, you should follow some simple recommendations:

  • If you have no idea what infection a particular antibiotic is meant for, do not use it
  • Learn side effects of antibiotics and take precautions
  • Use antibiotics in recommended doses only (no less, no more)
  • Continue using antibiotics until you are completely healthy

If antibiotics pills cause allergy – skin rash, itching, difficult breathing or another serious reaction, a person should stop using it and never take it again. Use antibiotics only when strictly necessary.