Skip to main content

Drug Allergy

What is it?

A drug allergy or sensitivity happens when your body is irritated after taking a drug or medicine. You can even become allergic to medicines or drugs that you have taken before. You cannot spread an allergy to other people. It goes away when you stop taking the drug and the drug is out of your body.


A drug allergy is caused by taking a drug or medicine that you are allergic to. Your chances of having a drug allergy may be greater if other people in your family have drug allergies.

Signs and Symptoms:

You may have a skin rash, itching, and hives after taking a drug or medicine. Really bad allergic reactions can kill you. They can cause mouth swelling, trouble breathing, a pounding heart, fainting, and chest tightness. This is called anaphylaxis (ah-nuh-fuh-lak-sis).


  • Stop taking the medicine that caused the reaction and call your caregiver right away. Your caregiver may give you medicine to stop the itching and swelling.
  • Your mouth and throat may get swollen and cause difficulty breathing, wheezing, tight feeling in your chest or throat. Call 911 or O (operator) for medical help. Or, have someone drive you to the nearest emergency room. This could be life threatening.

Do's and Don'ts:

  • After you find out what medicine caused your reaction, do not take it again.
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet that says exactly what your medicine allergy is. You may get one from the following organization:
  • MedicAlert Foundation
    2323 Colorado Avenue
    Turlock , CA 95382
    Phone: 1- 888 - 633-4298
    Web Address:

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about drug allergies and how they can be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care will be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.