About 10% of the global population is allergic to certain medications. Medication challenges provide a safe and effective way to determine the source of your allergy while also guiding treatment. At Allergy Associates of Utah in Murray and West Jordan, Utah, allergy specialists Andrew Smith, MD, MS, and Tara Sarin, MD, provide medication challenges. To schedule an appointment, call the nearest office, or book online today.
What are medication challenges?
Medication challenges are a type of in-office test used to diagnose or rule out drug allergies.
During a medication challenge at Allergy Associates of Utah, you inhale or take a specific drug orally. Afterward, Dr. Smith or Dr. Sarin carefully monitors your body’s response. If you don’t experience any symptoms, they gradually increase the dosage to trigger a mild allergic reaction.
Who can benefit from medication challenges?
Anyone who regularly experiences allergic reactions to prescription or over-the-counter drugs can benefit from a medication challenge.
Experts estimate that 5-10% of the population experiences adverse drug reactions. Some of the most common medications that trigger allergies include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Sulfa drugs
Symptoms range from mild to severe and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches.
If you suspect you have a medication allergy, don’t wait to make an appointment at Allergy Associates of Utah.
How do I prepare for a medication challenge?
Before recommending a medication challenge, Dr. Smith or Dr. Sarin conducts a physical exam and reviews your medical history.
They ask you several questions, including if you take any medications regularly, if you experience any unusual side-effects, and if you have a diagnosis of allergies.
If you take any type of allergy medication, like an antihistamine, Dr. Smith or Dr. Sarin asks you to stop prior to your medication challenge. This is because certain drugs can interfere with the results of your test.
What happens during a medication challenge?
Dr. Smith and Dr. Sarin conduct medication challenges at their offices. On the day of your appointment, they check your heart and respiratory rate.
For the test, they give you a small amount of a specific drug to inhale or swallow. You take the medication and wait 15-30 minutes for it to cause a reaction, such as:
- Watery eyes
- Difficulty breathing
If you experience any symptoms, Dr. Smith or Dr. Sarin stops the test and provides prompt care to minimize your discomfort.
If you don’t experience a reaction, you gradually increase your dose. Dr. Smith or Dr. Sarin monitors your vital signs throughout treatment, ensuring your safety.
How long do medication challenges take?
The length of a medication challenge depends on the type of drug you take and the severity of your reaction. If you only experience mild symptoms, you can leave within an hour or two of taking the medication. More serious reactions may require additional time and can take four to five hours.
To learn more about medication challenges, schedule an appointment at Allergy Associates of Utah. Call the nearest office, or book a consultation online today.