A drug or medication allergy happens when the immune system reacts to a medication. A number of drugs can cause a drug allergy, including prescription and over-the-counter medications. The most common signs of a drug allergy are hives, rash or fever. A drug allergy can be life-threatening if it involves anaphylaxis or Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, the two most dreaded forms of allergic reactions to drugs.
When a patient has been seriously hurt by an allergic reaction to a medication, medical malpractice can be an issue in several scenarios:
- A drug was prescribed when the patient was known to be allergic to that drug or one in its family. This often happens with antibiotics in the penicillin family.
- A drug was prescribed without a good reason, as when the patient’s underlying illness was misdiagnosed.
- Doctors failed to realize the patient was going into shock from a drug allergy.
Anaphylaxis – Shock from a drug allergy
Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency. Anaphylaxis symptoms usually start within minutes after exposure to a drug. Drugs rubbed on the skin can take longer to cause a reaction. Patients who are developing anaphylaxis show some or all of these:
- Tightening of the airway, with trouble breathing
- Shock, with a severe drop in blood pressure
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or loss of consciousness
Patients need epinephrine to treat anaphylaxis, and it needs to be given urgently to avoid death from low blood pressure.
Most drug-related symptoms are not a true drug allergy and don’t involve the immune system. Allergic and nonallergic drug reactions are often confused because they can cause similar symptoms. Either type is called an adverse drug event and needs to be checked by a doctor.
Consult with an Experienced Malpractice Attorney
If you believe you or a family member has been seriously injured from medical malpractice, medical error, or neglect by a doctor, hospital, nurse, clinic, nursing home or other health care provider, you may want to click here to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney for a free evaluation of your case. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 202-742-1500 or 888-625-6635 toll-free. We will respond within 24 hours. There is no charge for our initial consultation.