Eric Macy, MD


Drug allergies: What to expect, what to do

November 01, 2006

Abstract: Allergic drug reactions are mediated by IgE. Other immunologic drug reactions are mediated by IgG and complement, T cells, systemic cytokine release, and mast cell activation. True drug allergies, which are IgE-mediated, account for less than 10% of all adverse drug reactions. IgE-mediated reactions are commonly seen with penicillins, but also occur with some other antibiotics, chemotherapeutic agents, therapeutic proteins, and neuromuscular blockers. They are often limited to urticaria but also include life-threatening anaphylaxis. Skin testing to identify patients who are allergic is available for many agents associated with IgE-mediated reactions. Protocols for desensitization permit the use of some culprit agents when indicated. (J Respir Dis. 2006;27(11):463-471)