What Is An Adverse Drug Reaction?

An adverse reaction is a negative reaction to a medication. This can be medication taken orally or topically. Adverse reaction symptoms range from mild to severe and require medical attention. Treatments also range depending on the severity of the reaction. Although drug hypersensitivity is slightly different from an adverse reaction, symptoms can be the same.

ReNue Rx Rashes_ Jaundice _ Nausea What To Report As An Adverse Reaction

How do I know if I have an adverse reaction?

An adverse reaction is the immune system’s response to a foreign agent in the body. If the person is allergic to a particular medication, the immune system goes into overdrive to protect the body. The immune system might develop antibodies or T cells to combat the effects of the drug. This leads to an allergic reaction such as a rash, nausea, or jaundice. In extreme cases, the person can develop anaphylaxis or toxic epidermal necrolysis.

What are the symptoms of a rash?

An adverse reaction rash has specific symptoms. Here is a list of the most common ones.

  • Redness
  • Itchiness
  • Small bumps
  • Flakiness
  • Swollen skin
  • Blisters
  • Peeling

As the drug breaks down in the body and interacts with the immune system, symptoms will arise. These rash symptoms can appear hours or days after taking medication. A rash can also accompany other adverse reaction symptoms like a fever or trouble breathing. Patients that notice a rash forming after taking medication should seek medical attention.

Is nausea an adverse drug reaction?

Yes, nausea can be a symptom of an adverse drug reaction. Oftentimes, nausea is listed as a side effect of taking prescribed medications. Nausea can also accompany vomiting or rash-like symptoms. Nausea is the result of the medication stimulating certain nerves in the abdominal region. Similar to the immune system, the gastrointestinal tract may have a hard time processing the drug and nausea develops.

What is jaundice?

Jaundice occurs when the body stores too much bilirubin. Bilirubin is a substance found in red blood cells. Bilirubin is supposed to be filtered out by the liver. If the liver cannot properly filter the bilirubin, the substance stays in the body and turns the skin yellow. Medications like steroids and penicillin can lead to jaundice.

How can I treat an adverse drug reaction?

The best way to treat an adverse reaction is to see a medical professional. A medical professional can examine the patient and perform the necessary tests to identify the cause of the negative reaction and develop a treatment plan. Doctors are also encouraged to report adverse reactions to MedWatch. MedWatch is an alert system created by the FDA to monitor adverse reactions caused by medications.


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