Allergic Reactions to Drugs

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Abstract

Although allergic reactions account for only a minority of adverse reactions to drugs, they are common. They may result in a wide variety of clinical presentations. In sexually-transmitted diseases the drugs which most commonly cause reactions are the penicillins, co-trimoxazole and the tetracyclines. There are considerable gaps in our understanding of the mechanisms of many drug reactions. This means there are often no diagnostic tests or that these tests may be unreliable. Furthermore, substantial numbers of supposed drug reactions do not recur when the drug is re-administered. These reactions, therefore, pose a difficult problem for the clinician. In this chapter, mechanisms of drug reactions and clinical presentation will be discussed, and an approach to diagnosis and management suggested.