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What is the difference between a side effect and an allergy?

When it comes to complications from medications, it is essential to understand the difference between an allergy and a side effect. Your doctor in Texas needs to know exactly what you experienced after taking the medication. This helps him or her to make future decisions about your medications and to ensure that you did not experience something out of the ordinary that needs to be reported as a defect or issue with the drug.

The American Pharmacists Association explains an allergy to a medication is much different than a side effect from a medication. Side effects generally are known reactions listed on the literature that comes with your medication. They are things like drowsiness, nausea and diarrhea. While you will usually experience them every time you take the medication, they generally do not get any worse with subsequent doses. You also may not have side effects when taking similar medications.

An allergy, on the other hand, is an adverse reaction your body has to fight off what it perceives as a threat. Allergies often do get worse each time you take the medication. They can also be life-threatening, and may occur when you take related medications. Allergy symptoms generally include problems breathing and/or swallowing, itchy skin, hives, swelling in the face, throat or mouth and a rash.

If you have an allergic reaction, it is imperative your doctor knows about it. You should never take that medication or a related medication again. If you experience side effects, you can take the medication again if the side effects were not severe. Your doctor may offer alternatives if you do not wish to experience the side effects again. This information is for education and is not legal advice.

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