An allergic reaction to a medicine is an overreaction by the
body's immune system to a substance (allergen) in a medicine that a person has
taken. An allergic reaction to a medicine may cause symptoms that range from
a minor rash to severe anaphylactic shock, depending on the person and the type
and dose of the medicine.
A medicine allergy is different from an adverse medicine
reaction, such as a medicine side effect or a reaction when taking more than
one medicine. Because symptoms and treatments vary, a doctor
should determine whether a person has a medicine allergy or an adverse
reaction. A severe medicine allergy can be life-threatening. An adverse
reaction usually is not.
A person who has been diagnosed with a medicine allergy should
wear a medical alert bracelet or other identification and should not take that
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Rohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.