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A rash may occur as a side effect of taking a drug or as an allergic reaction to it. A drug rash may be caused by many different medications, including antibiotics and water pills (diuretics). Some drugs are more likely to produce a rash if the skin is exposed to sunlight.

A drug rash, which usually starts within the first week of taking a new medication, often begins as red spots. The spots spread and merge, covering large areas of the body. If you stop taking the drug that caused the rash, it will usually clear up in days to weeks.

Rarely, a drug rash is part of a more serious, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that affects the respiratory system and other organs. These severe reactions require emergency care.

Oct. 21, 2016