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Drug Allergies and Latex Allergies

The allergy specialists at UPMC in central Pa. offer diagnostic testing and treatment for children and adults with latex allergies or drug allergies.

Why choose UPMC in Central Pa. for drug allergy or latex allergy treatment?

Our specialists provide comprehensive treatment for latex allergies and allergies to drugs or medications. We offer a full range of diagnostic and treatment services to help you understand and manage your latex allergy or drug allergy, including:

  • Diagnostic Tests for Drug Allergies
  • Skin testing. Skin testing, also called scratch testing, exposes your skin to small amounts of allergy-causing substances (allergens) and can identify penicillin allergies.
  • Oral drug challenge. Oral drug challenge is a test that is used to confirm or rule out a drug allergy. During the test, you will be given a small, gradually increasing amount of a suspected allergy-causing drug under medical supervision and be monitored for signs of an allergic reaction.

Diagnostic Tests for Latex Allergies

  • Blood tests. Blood tests measure the amount of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies in your blood that are specific to certain allergens and can be used to diagnose latex allergies.

Medications for Drug Allergies and Latex Allergies

  • Allergy medications. Some medications may be able to help control mild allergic reactions to medications or latex, but may not be suitable if you have a severe or life-threatening allergy. Before you use any allergy medication, you should ask your doctor if it is right for your condition and symptoms.
  • Epinephrine (EpiPen or Auvi-Q). If you are at risk of experiencing a severe or life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, your doctor may prescribe an injectable emergency medication called epinephrine. Epinephrine is usually given at the first sign of a severe allergic reaction, followed by emergency medical treatment. Your doctor will provide specific information about when and how you should use epinephrine.

Patient Education for Drug Allergies and Latex Allergies

  • Our specialists provide the education and information you need to manage your latex allergy or drug allergy, including training on administering emergency medications, developing an allergy action plan, and making recommendations for how you can prevent allergic reactions.

What is a drug allergy?

A drug allergy occurs when your body has an immune reaction to a drug — including prescription or over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements — that you come into contact with or ingest. A drug allergy is different than a drug side effect. Common allergy-causing drugs include:

  • Penicillin and other related antibiotics
  • Antibiotics containing sulfonamides (sulfa drugs)
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Anesthetics
  • Dyes used for imaging tests
  • Anticonvulsant medications

What are the symptoms of drug allergies?

Symptoms of drug allergies are caused by your body’s immune reaction to the drug and can range from mild to life-threatening. Symptoms may include:

  • Hives or skin rash
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Hoarse voice, tightness in the throat, or difficulty swallowing as a result of swelling in the throat or tongue

The most serious type of allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis, which can occur within minutes and is potentially life-threatening. Anaphylaxis causes dizziness, a sharp drop in blood pressure and, in some cases, loss of consciousness, shock, or cardiac arrest.

What is a latex allergy?

A latex allergy occurs when your body has an immune reaction to proteins found in natural rubber latex that comes from the rubber tree. Allergic reactions to latex can be caused by touching products that contain latex, such as gloves, condoms, or balloons, or by inhalation of latex particles that are released into the air by latex products.

What are the symptoms of a latex allergy?

Symptoms of a latex allergy are caused by your body’s immune reaction to the latex proteins and can range from mild to life-threatening. Symptoms may include:

  • Itching
  • Hives or skin rash
  • Skin redness
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Scratchy throat
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing

People who are highly sensitive to latex could experience a potentially life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis, which can cause causes dizziness, a sharp drop in blood pressure and, in some cases, loss of consciousness, shock, or cardiac arrest.

Who is at risk for drug allergies and latex allergies?

Anyone can have an allergic reaction to latex or a drug, but you may be at a higher risk if you have other allergies or have a personal or family history of a drug allergy or latex allergy. Frequent or prolonged exposure to latex or a drug could put you at a higher risk of developing an allergy.

How can I prevent drug allergies and latex allergies?

Although there is nothing you can do to prevent the allergy itself, you may be able to prevent allergic reactions by taking steps to avoid exposure to allergy-causing drugs or latex and following your doctor’s advice regarding allergy treatment.



UPMC Allergy and Immunology
Located at UPMC Outpatient Center
21 Waterford Drive
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

Phone: 717-988-9180
Fax: 717-775-5723


Need more information?

Many of our providers offer video visits. Call the office or schedule via your patient portal.

Phone: 717-988-9180

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