Medicament Allergies - part 3

Anesthetics and insulin

Even using painkillers and different types of anesthetics cause allergic as well as toxic reactions quite often. For instance, a number of opiates may even result in direct release of histamine (a chemical compound released by tissues affected by allergic reactions and it dilates blood vessels).

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In case you develop a rash or have any type of adverse reaction after using a sedative, painkiller or anesthetic, you need to report this to your physician right away.

At the same time, it is also advisable that you stay away from medications belonging to the same category, as they too may cause similar problems. Instead of using medications belonging to the class that is problematic to you, it is prudent to use a different class of medications.

Some symptoms like debility often alters the heartbeat and may even lead to fainting, especially when local anesthetics are administered via injections.

These symptoms actually do not occur owing to allergic reactions, but owing to tension of the experience of the previous adverse effects suffered by the patient. However, if there is slightest doubt regarding the cause of the symptoms and if you desire to know if using local anesthetics is harmful for you, you need to undergo skin testing, which can show if you are suffering from any allergy.

In case, the skin test results are negative, you can rest assured that you can tolerate the medication that is being injected well and, hence, increase its dose gradually.

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Administering general anesthesia may result in serious side effects like anaphylaxis as well as other forms of allergic reactions. This is evident during surgery when there is an abrupt catastrophic fall in the blood pressure, which may also result in a cardiac arrest.

Other symptoms of allergic reactions like rash and hives may not be present always. In fact, during a surgery, this type of reaction may often be confused with several other reactions that are non-allergic in nature.

It is very important to ascertain the time when you have experienced an allergic reaction, as this is likely to happen again and you can prevent it by taking suitable medications from before.

In fact, this is a vital issue and people who have experienced this kind of allergic reactions while being administered general anesthesia ought to talk to their physicians about it in detail. In a number of instances, latex allergy may be responsible for this type of allergic reaction and, hence, it is essential that you try and ascertain the cause.

Some people are allergic to insulin and this may especially be very troublesome for people with diabetes, who require insulin to sustain their health. However, you can deal with this problem in various ways. So, what you need to do is to talk to a physician who is an expert on diabetes.

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Chymopapain and streptokinase

Chymopapain and papain are two enzymes that are obtained from the papaya tree and used for various products ranging from toothpastes to meat tenderizer. Chymopapain is also effective for treating herniated disks.

However, the bad news is that the use of this natural enzyme results in anaphylaxis in roughly one out of every 100 people who are treated with it. It is believed that when people come in contact with specific grass pollen and meat tenderizer, they may possibly react adversely to chymopapain.

Generally, in vitro or laboratory blood examination as well as skin tests are undertaken to detect whether an individual is susceptible to chymopapain. Prior to the test, chymopapain is administered into their disk by means of an injection. However, these tests are not reliable always.

Another enzyme known as streptokinase helps to liquefy blood clots and it is employed to cure disorders of the circulatory system, including phlebitis and heart attacks. However, several people also develop allergic reactions to this enzyme and may even endure anaphylaxis.

X-ray dyes

Radiographic contrast media (commonly known as X-ray dyes) are frequently used before specific CAT scans, kidney X-rays, angiography and myelograms as well as others. These dyes enable the radiologists to observe the organs that are being examined. However, administering intravenous injections lead to allergic reactions in one out of 15 cases, in dangerous reactions in one out of 50 instances and even death in one out of 40,000 cases.

In case you have ever experienced an allergic reaction owing to X-ray dye, it is essential to get it noted in your personal medical records. Also ensure that you tell about the reaction to any and all physicians who might be thinking to undertake a similar diagnostic examination. There are a number of X-ray dyes and it is possible that you will not be as susceptible to the latest ones, which are generally not used too frequently as they are quite expensive.

In case you have suffered an allergic reaction earlier, irrespective of how mild it might have been, you should essentially use one of the latest X-ray dyes. In addition, undergoing a pre-treatment using corticosteroids and antihistamines is also extremely useful in putting off or reducing a reaction. Generally, serious reactions are actually rare, especially in the case of a brain enema or myelogram, as the dye is not administered through an injection into the vein.

Earlier it was believed that people with a history of an allergic reaction known as shellfish allergy were susceptible to X-ray dyes, but now this perception has changed. Nevertheless, people with history of asthma and/ or hay fever do have some chances of being adversely affected by X-ray dyes.

Prevention of dangerous medicament reactions

There several other painkillers and antibiotics that may also result in anaphylactic reactions. For instance, using chymopapain may prove to be unsafe. Therefore, it is advisable that you should be in close proximity of your physician or any other medical help for anything between 30 minutes to 45 minutes after being administered a shot of penicillin or other similar medication.

This will help you to seek immediate medical aid in case you suffer from a devastating anaphylactic medication reaction. This is perhaps the best thing you can do to avoid a disaster.

You should know that compared to injection doses, taking a medication orally will cause less severe reactions. In fact, generally delayed reactions are comparatively mild than the reactions that occur during the first hour of taking a medication.

However, this theory does not suggest that you are supposed to overlook the symptoms related to medications taken orally, irrespective of the fact that the reaction happens immediately after ingesting the medication or the reactions are delayed.

Provided it has been established that you are prone to medicament allergy, it is vital that you tell this to your physician every time prior to starting treatment with any new drug.

It is also prudent to do some online research and ask your physician or pharmacist about all other general medications that belong to the same class of drugs, which trigger allergic reactions in your body. Once you are aware of these medications, you need to be cautious to stay away from the entire class of such drugs.

Moreover, every time your physician recommends a new medication for your condition, ensure that you always tell him/ her about your allergy. It would really be unfortunate if your physician fails to remember your allergy problem or things may be even worse if your physician does not consider your previous medical reports seriously.

Therefore, it will be wise to consult your pharmacist regarding the medications prescribed by your physician. Ask your pharmacist whether the medications prescribed by your physician belong to or are related to the family of the drugs to which you are allergic.

It is also important that you record or remember all the previous adverse reactions you might have experienced after taking specific medications. This will largely help you to prevent the delayed, but nonetheless serious symptoms of medicament allergy.

Remembering things like a rash that developed suddenly after you used a medication and its sudden disappearance following discontinuation of the drug may possibly help you to make a diagnosis of a problematic medicament reaction you may be suffering at present.

Also keep your physician informed about any probable sensitivity prior to commencing a medicine course for treating any condition you may be enduring. Ask him/ her to incorporate the information in your personal medical records for future reference.

Diagnosis and treatment of medicament allergy

While diagnosing a medication allergy is uncertain on many occasions, the treatment of the condition generally involves avoiding the drugs responsible for it. Incidentally, this kind of avoidance may at times also help in diagnosing the problem.

Provided you stop using the medication and the symptoms also fade away quite rapidly, possibilities are that some kind of allergy was responsible for your problems.

Presence of high intensity of eosinophils in the bloodstream, coupled with additional signs related to allergy like a rash, is an indication that there is an allergic process in the person. However, only the presence of high level of eosinophils in the blood seldom necessitates tests to diagnose whether the concerned individual is actually enduring a medicament allergy.

Even skin tests undertaken to diagnose medicament allergy are often vague and may even turn out to be unsafe for the person. However, such test may still be undertaken, but essentially always under the direct supervision of a physician.

These tests may become necessary to find out if a person is really enduring a medicament allergy. This situation usually occurs quite frequently for patients who require treatment for specific infections, for instance, staph infection.

It may also be necessary for patients requiring treatment for herniated disk, or any other health condition, especially when the physicians are left with no choice regarding the use of medication - as there is only one particular medicine available for treating the condition.

Although skin testing to diagnose allergy to penicillin is risky, it is also worthwhile because it discloses the sensitivity in majority of the cases (not all) wherein a person may be enduring sensitivity to this drug. In addition, skin testing undertaken to diagnose sensitivity to insulin, local anesthetics and chymopapain are also reliable to some extent.

If a situation arises wherein a patient sensitive to a particular medication must essentially use the medicine in question, physicians may undertake a desensitization program under regulated conditions (if possible in an intensive care unit). In fact, desensitization programs are undertaken most often for penicillin and insulin and usually the results of these programs are good.

Usually, corticosteroids and antihistamines are employed to treat the symptoms related to medicament allergy. However, these medications are only used when it is absolutely necessary. In many instances, it is sufficient to solve the problem by discontinuing the medication that is responsible for medicament allergy.

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