Treatments and drugsBy Mayo Clinic staff
If you have an allergic reaction after taking an antibiotic in the penicillin family, you should:
- Stop taking the medication and ask your doctor about another antibiotic
- Avoid using penicillin in the future
Treatment for signs and symptoms you develop during an allergic reaction to penicillin depends on what kind of reaction you have.
- Anaphylaxis is the most rare and serious allergic drug reaction. It can be life-threatening and requires an injection of epinephrine (adrenaline) and emergency care to maintain blood pressure and support breathing.
- Rashes or hives may improve when treated with an antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others). More severe reactions may require treatment with oral or injected corticosteroids.
- Solensky R. Allergy to penicillins. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Oct. 17, 2011.
- Penicillin allergy. American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. http://www.acaai.org/allergist/allergies/Types/drug-allergy/Pages/penicillin-allergy.aspx. Accessed Oct. 17, 2011.
- Drug hypersensitivity. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/immunology_allergic_disorders/allergic_and_other_hypersensitivity_disorders/drug_hypersensitivity.html#v996144. Accessed Sept. 12, 2011.
- Torres MJ, et al. The complex clinical picture of b-lactam hypersensitivity: Penicillins, cephalosporins, monobactams, carbapenems, and clavams. Medical Clinics of North America. 2010;94:805.
- B-Lactams. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious_diseases/bacteria_and_antibacterial_drugs/%CE%B2-lactams.html?qt=lactam&alt=sh. Accessed Oct. 18, 2011.
- Macy E, et al. Use of commercial anti-penicillin IgE fluorometric enzyme immunoassays to diagnose penicillin allergy. Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. 2010;105:136.