Allergy to antibiotics - causes and manifestations in children and adults, diagnosis, treatment methods, prevention

The body's reaction to antibiotics is one of the most common allergic manifestations when using drugs. The likelihood of developing hypersensitivity and undesirable consequences increases with an increase in the dosage and frequency of taking medications, the duration of drug treatment.

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What is allergy

A pathological process manifested by increased sensitivity (hypersensitivity) of the body's immune system to any natural or artificial substance is called allergy. Hypersensitivity can be provoked by food, wool, dust, microbes, drugs, etc. Three stages are distinguished in the pathogenesis of antibiotic allergy:

  1. Sensitization. The process of acquiring a specific increased immune sensitivity by the body to any foreign substances. It develops after the first contact with an antibiotic, it does not manifest itself clinically.
  2. The period of clinical symptoms. It is characterized by an increase in the secretion of the body's endocrine glands, contraction of smooth muscles, pain, fever, inflammation, shock.
  3. Period of hyposensitization. At this time, there is a gradual decrease in hypersensitivity.

Causes of antibiotic allergy

Among all medicines from the antibiotic group, penicillins and sulfonamides are more likely to cause allergic reactions than others, due to the fact that substances of these groups are treated with many food products to extend the shelf life. There are several risk factors that significantly increase the likelihood of hypersensitivity to antimicrobial drugs:

  • the patient has other types of allergies;
  • chronic diseases;
  • ​​
  • frequent repeated courses of the same medication;
  • viral infections;
  • long-term use of antibiotics;
  • hereditary predisposition.

In addition, excipients included in the composition of drugs can provoke an allergic reaction: stabilizers, preservatives, dyes, flavors, etc. The risk of developing hypersensitivity increases significantly if the patient has dysfunction of the kidneys or liver. Allergy after antibiotics occurs more often in children, because they metabolize drugs more slowly than adults.

How allergy manifests itself

All symptoms that occur with hypersensitivity are divided into general and local. The first ones affect all systems of the body, are typical for middle-aged and elderly people, as well as for patients with multiple pathologies. Allergy after taking local antibiotics is manifested only in relation to one area of ​​the skin or organ. Common symptoms include the following:

  1. Anaphylactic shock. The condition develops immediately after the use of the drug. Anaphylactic shock is manifested by a sharp drop in blood pressure, tachycardia, edema of the laryngeal mucosa, suffocation, and the appearance of rashes on the skin.
  2. Serum-like syndrome. It usually develops after a few weeks. It is characterized by joint pain, fever and swollen lymph nodes.
  3. Medicinal fever. Represents a rise in temperature up to 40 ° C. The drug fever develops 5-7 days after taking antibiotics and persists for several days.
  4. Toxic epidermal necrolysis (Lyell's syndrome). Pathology is rare, characterized by the formation of painful large blisters on the skin, filled with a clear liquid. After the bladder breaks open, the skin peels off and a wound forms.
  5. Stevens-Johnson syndrome. In this condition, a measles-like rash appears on the skin, the mucous membranes become inflamed, and the body temperature rises. Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting occur.

Severe hypersensitivity and death with antibiotics are rare. The clinical picture is usually manifested by local symptoms. An allergy to antibiotics is manifested as follows:

  1. Urticaria. At the same time, red spots appear on any part of the skin, accompanied by itching.
  2. Quincke's edema. It is swelling of one part of the body, which is accompanied by redness of the skin, itching and a feeling of bloating.
  3. Dermatitis of the erythematous type. It is characterized by slight swelling and redness of the place of contact of the skin with the antibiotic (for example, after the administration of the solution intramuscularly).
  4. Photosensitization. In this case, redness of the skin is observed after exposure to sunlight. Photosensitization often causes itching and the appearance of vesicles.
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In a child

The most common symptoms of an allergic reaction in a child are headache, disorders of the gastrointestinal tract (diarrhea, vomiting, nausea), rhinitis, conjunctivitis, itching and redness of the skin. In addition, Quincke's edema may develop. A small number of pediatric patients may experience anaphylactic shock, choking, dizziness, and loss of consciousness.


Allergy is determined through a thorough history, physical examination, and a series of tests. An allergic reaction to antibiotics is diagnosed by:

  1. Skin allergy tests. A small amount of liquid with antibacterial substances is applied to the skin of the forearm and small scratches are made using a scarifier or a needle. Then the result is assessed: in the presence of changes in the skin (itching, redness), the presence of hypersensitivity has been proven.
  2. A blood test for immunoglobulin E. If available for a specific drug, the diagnosis is confirmed.
  3. Complete blood count. The results assess the number of leukocytes, eosinophils - their increased content in the blood indicates hypersensitivity.

What to do if you are allergic to antibiotics

Treatment of an allergic reaction when taking antibiotics is carried out according to the following scheme:

  1. immediate discontinuation of the drug;
  2. cleansing the body with hemosorption and plasmapheresis (in severe cases);
  3. taking antihistamines, glucocorticosteroids;
  4. symptomatic treatment;
  5. carrying out specific hyposensitization (reduction of immune sensitivity to a specific medication).


To eliminate an allergic reaction, complex drug therapy is used. The following groups of drugs are prescribed:

  1. Antihistamines. Medicines that reduce the severity of allergic reactions by blocking H1-histamine receptors. Prescribed as systemic agents in the form of tablets and solutions for intravenous infusion, and in the form of drugs for local use (gels, ointments, etc.).
  2. Enterosorbents. The funds of this group adsorb drug residues, their metabolites and are naturally excreted from the body.
  3. Hormonal agents. Reduce the symptoms of hypersensitivity reactions in severe manifestations.

Consider the main characteristics of the most popular medicines used for symptoms of an allergic reaction to antibiotics:


Name of the drug

Active ingredient


Indications for use


Advantages of medication


Approximate value in rubles






allergic manifestations of various etiologies.



age up to 2 years.

a small number of side effects;

low cost;

a wide range of applications.

possible influence on the action of other medicines.




allergic manifestations of different etiology.

age up to 2 years;


several forms of release.

high risk of side effects.



cetirizine dihydrochloride.



allergic manifestations of various etiologies;

hay fever.

age up to 6 years;


renal failure;


several forms of release.

careful individual dose selection is required.



colloidal silicon dioxide.



acute intoxication;

intestinal infections;

drug, food allergy;


gastrointestinal bleeding;

peptic ulcer disease.

a wide range of applications;

A small number of contraindications.

possible side effects with prolonged use.



polymethylsiloxane polyhydrate

acute intoxication;

intestinal infections;

drug, food allergy;

purulent-septic diseases.

intestinal atony.

a wide range of applications;

A small number of contraindications.

possible side effects with prolonged use.


Activated carbon

Activated carbon





hydrochloric acid hypersecretion;

allergic manifestations.

gastrointestinal bleeding;

peptic ulcer disease.

a wide range of applications;

A small number of contraindications.

possible side effects with prolonged use.




blocking accumulation of cells of the immune system in tissues;

inhibition of antibody binding.


allergic reactions; pathology of the blood system;

malignant neoplasms.

Severe systemic fungal infections.

a wide range of applications;

high efficiency;

several forms of release.

high risk of severe side effects.


Folk remedies

In addition to the main treatment, folk remedies can be used. They can help relieve symptoms of an allergic reaction, swelling, redness and antibiotic rash. Among the popular drugs are:

  1. Freshly squeezed celery juice. Take 3-4 stalks of celery, rinse, peel off films. Pass through a juicer or grate on a fine grater and squeeze the juice with cheesecloth. Take half a glass of juice 2-3 times a day after meals.
  2. Broth of hawthorn. Pour 30 g of dry hawthorn fruits with 1.5 cups of water, put on fire and boil for 15-20 minutes. Then strain and cool. Take half a glass twice a day.
  3. Infusion of chamomile flowers. Pour 20 g of chamomile flowers with 200 ml of hot boiling water, leave for 2-3 hours. Take 2-3 tablespoons orally daily before breakfast.


Prevention of a hypersensitivity reaction with antibiotics is possible if the following guidelines are followed:

  1. Strictly adhere to the dosage of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor and the duration of drug therapy.
  2. Do not replace self-prescribed drugs with analogues or other groups of drugs.
  3. Do not take antibiotics without a doctor's prescription.
  4. Before prescribing drug therapy, warn the doctor about previous allergies to drugs or about the presence of reactions in blood relatives.

Photos of antibiotic rash


Attention! The information presented in the article is for informational purposes only. The materials of the article do not call for self-treatment. Only a qualified doctor can diagnose and give recommendations for treatment, based on the individual characteristics of a particular patient.