A single copy of this article may be reprinted for personal, noncommercial use only.
Sulfa allergy: Which medications should I avoid?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sulfa-allergy/AN01565
- With Mayo Clinic asthma and allergy specialist
James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.read biographyclose window
James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.James Li, M.D.
"People with allergy or asthma can lead full and healthy lives." — Dr. James Li
Dr. James Li is chair of the Division of Allergic Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine and a board-certified asthma and allergy specialist. He hopes his expertise and the information on the site educates health care consumers in an area of rapid change both in medications and diagnoses.
"There are a lot of misperceptions about allergy and asthma," says Dr. Li, a New York City native who has been with Mayo since 1985 and works with a group of subspecialists in allergy, asthma and immunology. "I believe it's important to provide truthful, accurate information about allergy and asthma to the public. The more people know, the better they can take care of these conditions."
Dr. Li is a professor of medicine at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic. He's a past director of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the American Board of Allergy and Immunology, and the American Board of Internal Medicine. He's a fellow in the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology honored him with the Distinguished Service Award, and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology with its Special Recognition Award.
- Aspirin allergy: What are the symptoms?
Lifestyle and home remedies (1)
- Can you use honey for allergies?
Sulfa allergy: Which medications should I avoid?
I have a sulfa allergy. How can I tell if a medicine contains sulfa?
from James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.
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)
Other types of sulfa medications may trigger a reaction in some people who have a sulfa allergy. Examples include:
- Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), used to treat Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis
- Dapsone, used to treat leprosy, dermatitis and certain types of pneumonia
Keep in mind, 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 (Glynase, Diabeta) and glimepiride (Amaryl), for example
- Some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as celecoxib (Celebrex)
- The migraine medication sumatriptan (Imitrex, Sumavel Dosepro)
- Certain "water pills" (diuretics), such as furosemide (Lasix) and chlorothiazide (Microzide)
An allergy to sulfonamide medications is different from having an adverse reaction to wine or food that contains sulfites. Having a reaction to sulfites in something you eat or drink doesn't mean you'll be allergic to sulfonamide medication.
If you have HIV/AIDS, you may have an increased sensitivity to sulfonamide medications. Always tell your doctor about your sensitivities to medication.Next question
Can you use honey for allergies?
- Montanaro A. Sulfonamide allergy in non HIV-infected patients. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 6, 2010.
- Dibbern DA, et al. Allergies to sulfonamide antibiotics and sulfa containing drugs. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. 2008;100:91.