Complications of serious drug reactions can include:

  • Anaphylaxis. This severe allergic reaction can be life-threatening and is a medical emergency.
  • Drug-induced anemia. This occurs when a drug causes an immune system reaction that destroys blood cells.
  • Serum sickness. Serum sickness can cause serious symptoms and lead to organ damage. Signs and symptoms include rash and joint pain, usually starting a week or so after you begin taking a drug.

Drug reactions can result in:

  • Taking a less effective medication. If you have an allergic or nonallergic adverse reaction to a medication, you may need to switch to a medication that may not work as well.
  • The need to use a drug that causes a reaction. If there's no other drug that works, you may need to use a drug that causes long-term, bothersome side effects.
Oct. 14, 2011

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