Diagnosis & Treatment Options
Research suggests that drug allergies are over-diagnosed, which makes a diagnosis by a highly trained allergy specialist even more critical. No one should needlessly avoid drugs that may be the best first-line treatment for a condition. Medication allergies we can test for include penicillin and other related antibiotics, sulfa drugs, aspirin and other NSAIDS, anticonvulsants, chemotherapy drugs, and contrast dye.
The doctor will perform a physical exam and discuss your medical and allergy history. This information will help determine which testing method(s) to utilize.
We offer both skin prick and intradermal (injection) tests. With the skin prick test, a drop of the medicine extract is applied using a plastic applicator to prick/scratch the skin’s surface. The intradermal test uses a small needle to inject the allergen just under the skin. Both tests require observation for raised, red, itchy bumps (called wheals). The size of the wheal generally correlates to your sensitivity to the medication. While a positive result generally indicates a drug allergy, a negative skin test does not necessarily rule out an allergy to the drug. This type of gray area is where Greater Austin Allergy’s depth of knowledge and experience prove invaluable.
Patch testing looks for delayed allergic reactions to medications. Your doctor will place a tiny amount of medication in a chamber that gets taped to your back. After 48-72 hours, you return to the office for patch removal and examination of skin results.
Depending on other test results, an oral drug challenge may be up next. In this challenge, the patient ingests increasing amount of a drug until a reaction is seen or tolerance can be verified.
Many patients come into our office for testing after being told they have a penicillin allergy. Penicillin is such a useful, effective drug that confirming or ruling out this allergy can have a big impact on a patient’s medical treatment, especially considering a true penicillin allergy can cause a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction. Penicillin allergy testing includes skin prick and intradermal options, as well as an oral challenge.
We will analyze your drug allergy testing results, and most of the time, you will learn that you definitively do or do not have a drug allergy. However, the data can prove inconclusive, indicating that you might have a drug allergy. Do not despair! This provides useful information, and we are here to help you move forward with that knowledge.