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Antibiotic Allergy Treatment & Testing in the Buffalo Region

Medication Allergies

When someone has a medication allergy, their immune system mistakenly identifies a specific drug as a harmful substance, triggering an allergic reaction. These reactions can vary widely, from skin rashes and hives to more severe effects like anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening condition. This can make getting sick even more stressful, as finding the right medication can become a challenge.

At Buffalo Amherst Allergy, now part of Great Lakes Allergy, our team specializes in identifying and treating various allergic reactions to medications. From conducting thorough drug allergy testing to providing comprehensive care for a wide array of allergic conditions, we are committed to ensuring the best outcomes for our patients.

Whether you're seeking to identify a new allergic reaction to medication or determine if your childhood allergy to penicillin is still a concern, our team is here to provide you with personalized care and attention. We invite you to take a proactive step towards better health and peace of mind by scheduling an appointment online with us today.


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Medication Allergy Symptoms, Testing & Treatment

Symptoms of allergic reactions to medications are similar to other allergic conditions and can involve the skin (rashes, swelling), gastrointestinal tract (vomiting), and even difficulty breathing. Some of the most common drug allergies include:

  • Antibiotics (particularly penicillins and sulfonamides)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Chemotherapy agents

Once a medication allergy has been identified, the primary course of action is avoidance of the drug in question. However, after several years, some people can “outgrow” these allergies, and many times, the same medication can be safely reintroduced if needed.  

The most common way we test for medication tolerance is with a medication challenge. This can be done following skin testing of the medication (if available), assuming the skin testing is negative, or “directly” with oral doses of the medication given without any skin testing beforehand. Your allergy team will determine which procedure is best for you depending on the specific medication, your history, symptoms, and how long ago the reaction occurred.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I'm allergic to a certain medication?

The signs and symptoms of a medication allergy can range from mild to severe and may include:

  • Skin rashes, hives, or itching
  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, or vomiting

In rare cases, severe reactions like anaphylaxis may occur and require immediate medical attention.

What happens during a medication challenge?

During a medication challenge, we administer controlled doses of the medication in question while closely monitoring for allergic reactions. A member of our nursing staff will evaluate your condition and respond appropriately if any symptoms appear. Additionally, you'll be monitored for a period after to ensure that the reaction fully resolves and that you're safe to leave our office.

If you don't experience any allergic symptoms during the challenge, we will continue to observe you for an additional one to two hours. This extra time allows us to monitor for delayed reactions and provide a more comprehensive assessment of your condition.

How should I prepare for a medication challenge?

Our team will give you specific instructions on how to prepare before your scheduled appointment. In general, we recommend that you stop taking Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra, Clarinex, and Xyzal five days before your medication challenge. Additionally, three days before, we ask that you stop taking any other antihistamine medication.

If the medication to be tested is amoxicillin, we will provide the medication at our office. We will send a prescription to your local pharmacy beforehand for all other medications. It's crucial that you DO NOT take the prescribed medication at home prior to your appointment, but we do ask that you pick it up and bring it with you on the day of your challenge.

How do I schedule an appointment with an allergy specialist near me?

We make it easy to book an appointment with an allergist in the Buffalo area. Simply fill out our patient-friendly form to schedule an appointment online, or give us a call at (716) 631-0380.  We are excited to see you and help you find relief from your allergies!

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