Sulfa Drug Allergy Symptoms: Treatment For Allergic Reaction To Sulfa

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
  • Agranulocytosis
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Porphyria
  • Lyell syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis
  • Stevens Johnson syndrome
  • Hepatitis
  • 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.


  1. Melbin Antony said:

    I am 19 and I am allergic to sulfa. My lips have become dark. Doctor says it is fixed drug reaction. Is there any way to make my lip back to its natural color?

    November 18, 2012
    • PUP said:

      First, let me tell you if you are allergic to sulfa drug, in future you should avoid any drug that contains sulfa medicine. Also whenever you consult any doctor, tell him that you are allergic to sulfa drugs. Now to revert back your lip color, milk is the best natural remedy. This is because milk contains lactic acid and it is a mild bleaching agent. Apply milk on your lip regularly for few weeks and you will see the change. It is also safe.

      November 19, 2012
  2. Juliet said:

    I am 19 years old and my allergy is also from taking these drugs and it has left a lot of these dark skin on my body. It started some years ago and many doctors never noticed it that it was due to allergy they still give me those medication over and over again. Now my body is full of these dark circles and there is nothing I can do about it. This problem started about 11 years ago and I was told recently that it was an allergy due to some medications that contain sulfa. Please suggest me how can I regain my skin color back?

    August 22, 2017

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