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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Drug Allergy?
Preliminary Notes
It is not a usual habit to start news with a good or optimistic item; however, it may sometimes give strength to read it up to the end, while bad start may discourage the readers.
Thus, good news is that true drug allergy is not a very common condition. Very often medications may provoke allergy-like symptoms, having no allergic reaction as their cause. On the other hand, experiencing side effects of a drug a patient takes is a much more frequent event.
The latter, however, are predictable and are almost all listed in the data sheet of the drug.
Perhaps, the most dangerous aspect of drug allergy is that it happens unpredictably. In the majority of cases it may develop days or even weeks after the therapy, and only in rare cases it becomes obvious after the initial dose administration.
Taking into account the above mentioned facts, it is sometimes possible even for a victim of allergy to evaluate the situation correctly and thus help a doctor to make a final diagnosis.
From the scientific point of view drug allergy has a different cause than that of adverse reactions. Namely, it takes oversensitive to the medication immune system and its overreaction for the allergy to the drug to occur. This condition involves the release of histamines and other allergic reaction mediators triggered by the immune system IgE (immunoglobulin) antibodies.
These antibodies to a peculiar drug or several drugs are made by the immune system during the first-time therapy. The response with the pronounced symptoms, however, occurs usually when a patient takes a drug for the second time. The already-made antibodies then treat the drug as a harmful and disease-causing agent.
Symptoms of Drug Allergy
A wide variety of signs and symptoms is a result of the immune system mistake. The most common ones can be seen on the skin surface. Here belong:
 - measles-like rash,
 - red, itchy, swollen patches of skin - hives,
 - sensitivity to sunlight,
 - blisters (toxic epidermal necrolysis),
 - eczema,
 - itching sensation (pruritus),
 - welts deep in the skin (angioedema),
 - dermatitis.
Other symptoms include swelling of the face and throat, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, dizziness, fever, muscles and joints pain, difficulty breathing, kidney and liver damage and gastrointestinal tract problems.
Drug allergy may also provoke the development of such conditions as:
-         serum sickness, which occurs 6 to 21 days after the administration of the drug;
-         asthma;
-         autoimmune disorders (drug-induced lupus, vasculitis, and myasthenia gravis);
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-         destruction of platelets and red blood cells.
The most dangerous symptom of drug allergy is anaphylaxis, which symptoms pose a real danger to the life of a patient. The latter include those mentioned above and such serious signs as wheezing, fainting, low blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and swelling of different parts of the body. These occur within one hour after the drug administration.
Although many symptoms of drug allergy may seem to be minor and not troublesome, it is always better to consult a doctor anyway to be sure their severity is not going to increase and cross the barrier of harmlessness.

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