Sulfa drug allergy is caused by drugs containing sulfonamides. It is important to take note that the generic names of these drugs do not necessarily have to have “sulfonamides” or start with “sul” or “sulfa”. Also, there are medications that do not contain sulfonamides but have components that are closely related to these compounds. Thus, these related compounds may also cause allergies to those allergic to sulfa drugs.
There are a number of medications that contain sulfonamides or related compounds. These medications are used for a wide range of ailments, including migraine, diabetes, and dermatitis.
If the patient was administered a kind of sulfa drug, especially for the first time, it is important to take note of any changes or side effects that might occur.
Knowing what to watch out for will surely help determine if the patient is allergic to the sulfa drugs or not. This way, the drug will be replaced by another medication.
Symptoms Of Sulfa Drug Allergy
The following symptoms have been associated with patients that have allergy towards sulfa drugs:
- Rashes and hives is the commonest symptom that appears, few hours after the medicine is taken.
- Vomiting and diarrhea.
- Fixed drug reaction: fluid filled blisters appear on the skin, when they get resolved it leaves dark discolored patches on the skin. But when the drug is accidentally taken again these patches will get inflamed and start to itch and blisters will form.
- Haemopoietic disorders
- Allergic urticaria
- Hemolytic anemia
- Lyell syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis
- Stevens Johnson syndrome
- Lung reactions such as severe asthma
Treatment For Allergic Reaction To Sulfa Drugs
These side effects are very serious and could be fatal if not treated immediately. Higher doses of medication also entail higher risks of side effects.
- The best treatment that can be done is to stop giving the patient more sulfa drugs.
- Though it is very difficult to reverse or take out the drugs from the system, it is very important that the side effects are treated. Very dangerous side effects such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis should be addressed immediately.
- There is no specific test either skin or blood test that can detect a person of having sulfa allergy.
- If the allergy symptoms are severe, it is necessary for the patient to consult his doctor.
- Once a person knows of having allergy to sulfa, they should always inform the doctors about this allergy, whenever they visit them so that another episode can be prevented.