Unlike side effects, Drug Allergies are immune system responses to what the body mistakenly perceives as a threat. Reactions range from minor skin rashes to more serious skin and mucosal membranes lesions which are called Stevens-Johnson syndrome and require treatment in hospital. Occasionally Drug Allergy could be responsible for severe systemic symptoms including generalized hives, face, tongue and throat swelling, difficulty breathing and swallowing, vomiting and diarrhea, confusion and fainting. By far, the drugs most people are allergic to are penicillin, sulfa drugs and related antibiotics. Many other drugs also can cause allergies. Exact diagnosis is determined by taking a detailed history and sometimes by doing special skin testing and drug challenges. In many cases allergic sensitivity to medication will decrease over time. That is why it is so important to see an allergy specialist to determine if you still have an allergy to the specific drug. Treatments focus on relief of symptoms and strict avoidance of allergy-causing medication in the future. Occasionally if avoidance of specific medication is not an option this will require desensitization which is always done by an allergy specialist.

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