The Unknown Dangers of Oral Prescriptions

Of course as a physician, I rely on medication to help my patients in Nashville. However, all medications have risks. Our goal as medical providers is to prescribe medications in which the benefits outweigh the risks of not prescribing it.

The British Journal of Dermatology recently published a large study about severe skin reactions (as a result of taking oral medications), which showed that 50% of cases were due to antibiotics, anticonvulsants and allopurinol (medication often prescribed for gout).

Penicillins and cephalosporins were the most common drugs given to patients that had a previous history of an allergic reaction to the medication.

In 24% of the cases surveyed, the following things were observed:

  • The medication prescribed was not necessary for the condition it was treating

  • It had been given to a person that had an allergy to the medication in the past

  • The patient was using the prescription medication to treat themselves

It is incredibly important for our patients to know if they have a history of an adverse reaction to any medication. If you have such a history, please record the name of the medication and inform all your medical providers and be able to accurately describe what you experienced during the allergic reaction. Since so many medications actually react differently with other drugs you might be taking, this plays a huge role in influencing whether or not we will prescribe certain medication.

For example – patients who have a history of a severe allergic reaction to Penicillin, are more likely to have a reaction to Keflex. A severe reaction typically consists of trouble breathing, a full body rash, etc. I will give Keflex to my surgery patients, in whom it is indicated, if they have a history of a mild allergic reaction to penicillin. In people with a mild allergic reaction to Penicillin who are undergoing surgery on a location more susceptible to infection, giving them Keflex has more benefit than risk.

If you take away anything to remember after reading this, here’s my advice:

  • Avoid inappropriate self-medication, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

  • Do not take expired medications!

  • Prevent access to medications by your family members – the last thing we want to do is give out our prescription medication to loved ones, only to have it cause hospitalization for a severe reaction

  • Let your Nashville dermatologist know if you are experiencing a reaction to prescription medication, or if you have had allergies to others in the past

Want to chat with a dermatologist? Visit us at Skin Solutions Dermatology in Nashville, Franklin, Columbia, Smyrna, Hendersonville or Pulaski to chat with our amazing team of dermatology specialists! Take advantage of our online booking system and book an appointment today.

Source: British Journal of Dermatology

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Dr Pena

About The Author

Dr. Pena is a Board-Certified Medical Dermatologist, Mohs skin cancer surgeon, and cosmetic dermatologist. Her mission is to educate the diverse patient populations she serves, and their communities, on the importance of skin care in decreasing the risk of skin cancer and minimizing the early signs of aging. She founded Skin Solutions Dermatology with numerous clinics in Nashville, Tennessee and surrounding Middle Tennessee.

Dr. Julia Pena, MD

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