Saturday, October 4, 2014
Drugs trigger the most fatal allergic reactions
Think of death from an extreme allergic reaction, or anaphylactic shock, and you probably think of nuts or even bee stings. But these are, well, peanuts, compared to the biggest allergen of them all—prescription drugs.
Drugs account for 58 per cent of all deaths from allergic reaction, while foods—including peanuts—are responsible for just 6.7 per cent of the total.
Antibiotics were the most likely to cause an allergic reaction, followed by radio-contrast agents for diagnostic imaging, and chemotherapy drugs.
The rate of deaths from medicines has doubled in the past 10 years—although the overall figures are low. According to research by Yeshiva University, 2,458 people in the US died from anaphylactic shock from 1999 to 2010.
(Source: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, September 2014; doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2014.08.018)