• What is sulfa drugs allergy?

    Sulfa drugs allergy refers to the adverse reactions noted in your body following consumption of drugs belonging to the group of sulfonamides. This group of drugs was one of the commonly advised antibiotics. You may develop allergic reactions that resemble any other allergy a few minutes or few hours after you consume the drug.


    How common is sulfa allergy?

    Sulfa drugs allergy is noted to affect about 3% of all people. Although not very common, some people are more prone to be allergic to sulfa drugs. The exact reason for this allergy is not known. People suffering from disorder such as HIV/AIDS are known to at a higher risk of being allergic to sulfa drugs than others.



    What are the symptoms of sulfa allergy?

    • Skin rash
    • Photosensitivity (reaction with sunlight while on medication)
    • Pain in joints and muscles
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Swollen tongue and face
    • Difficulty breathing



    How are sulfa allergies diagnosed?

    There is no test that can be used to definitively determine that a patient is experiencing an allergic reaction to a sulfa drug. Typically, what doctors do instead is to review all of the symptoms that are visible to the doctor and that the patient complains about.


    How can I tell if a medicine contains sulfa?

    Antibiotics containing chemicals called sulfonamides can trigger a reaction if you have a sulfa allergy. Examples of sulfonamide antibiotics include the combination drugs:

    • · Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Septra, Bactrim)
    • · Erythromycin-sulfisoxazole

    Other types of sulfa medications may trigger a reaction in some people who have a sulfa allergy. Examples include:

    • Sulfasalazine (used to treat Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis)
    • Dapsone (used to treat leprosy, dermatitis)



    Can I take other medications that contain sulfa?

    If you have a reaction to a sulfonamide antibiotic, you may still be able to take other sulfonamide medications without having a reaction. Examples of sulfonamide medications that may be OK include:

    • Certain diabetes medications: glyburide (Diabeta) &glimepiride (Amaryl)
    • Some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as celecoxib (Celebrex)
    • The migraine medication sumatriptan (Imitrex)
    • Certain diuretics, such as furosemide (Lasix) and chlorothiazide

    How do I prevent sulfa drug allergy?

    If you know that you are suffering from sulfa allergy inform your healthcare providers before they:

    • Prescribe any medications
    • Perform or plan for any minor or major surgeries
    • Treat any disorders or conditions

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