By Mark Ainsdale. Last updated 9th July 2021. Welcome to our guide covering scenarios like, “my doctor prescribed medication I am allergic to.” Have you taken medication that has been prescribed to you and experienced symptoms of an allergic reaction?
Or has over the counter medicine caused you to suffer an allergic reaction? Did you know that in some circumstances, you may be able to claim drug allergic reaction compensation if negligence has caused you to suffer an avoidable allergic reaction to medication?
If you have known allergies on your medical record, your doctor should avoid prescribing certain medications to you. Likewise, if a pharmacist is aware of your allergies, they should not dispense medication you are allergic to either. If they do, this could be classed as negligence. If this negligence causes you harm, you could claim compensation for the harm you’ve suffered as well as any financial implications that have arisen due to their negligence.
In this guide, we explore drug allergic reaction types, how they could happen and what allergic reaction symptoms you could suffer if you are given medication you are allergic to. Also included below is information about proving negligence and some guidance on drug allergic reaction compensation amounts that might be appropriate for the harm you have suffered. If you would like some guidance or would like to begin a claim, we could help. Call 0800 652 3087.
Choose A Section
- A Guide To Claims For An Allergic Reaction To Medication
- What Are Allergic Reactions To Medication?
- Types Of Allergic Reactions To Medications
- Symptoms Of An Allergic Reaction To A Drug Or Medication
- How Allergic Reactions Are Treated
- Claims For Allergic Reactions Caused By GP’s
- Claims For Allergic Reactions Caused By Hospitals
- Claims For Allergic Reactions Caused By Pharmacies
- What Drugs Or Medications Could Cause Allergic Reactions?
- Side Effects Vs Allergic Reactions
- Non-Allergic Reactions Caused By Medications
- What Could I Claim? – Allergic Reactions To Medications
- Time Limits To Make A Claim For An Allergic Reaction To A Medication
- No Win No Fee Claims For Allergic Reactions To Medications
- Contact Medical Negligence Assist
- Helpful Links
If you have had an allergic reaction to a medication, you might have suffered symptoms ranging from mild rashes and headaches to severe problems with breathing or even anaphylaxis. While in some circumstances, if it is not known that you have an allergy to a medication, this may be something you cannot do anything about in terms of taking legal action. However, if you have had a known allergy and were prescribed or dispensed medicines you were known to be allergic to, this could be classed as medical negligence. Therefore, you may be able to take action to claim compensation against the negligent party for the avoidable harm you have suffered due to the allergic reaction.
There could be various mistakes that could lead to you suffering an allergic reaction to a medication. In the sections below, we offer information on how to treat an allergic reaction to a medication, steps you could take if you feel that medical negligence has led to your allergic reaction, as well as information on why using a specialist medical negligence solicitor instead of a personal injury solicitor could be a wise idea if you are considering claiming compensation.
An allergic reaction to medication happens when your immune system reacts to a drug you have taken, which could cause various unpleasant symptoms. While some drug reactions are quite mild, and you may only experience a rash or a mild headache, others can cause serious problems and may require urgent treatment. Some severe drug reactions could cause long-term problems with a person’s health, such as blood pressure issues.
If you have taken a medication that has caused you to suffer a reaction, you should inform your doctor, so that information about your allergies could be included on your medical record. This should ensure that you are not prescribed this medication in the future to avoid a reaction occurring again.
There are various types of drug allergic reactions you could suffer. These could include those that affect the skin, the brain, or other systems within the body.
Mild allergic reactions – You may not even notice that you are slightly allergic to a medication. Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction may go away over time with no treatment required.
Serious allergic reactions – If you suffer an allergic reaction to medication that causes a serious reaction, this may require you to seek treatment, especially if the reaction affects your breathing, for example. Symptoms and treatments for allergies are explored in the sections below.
Allergic reaction to medication symptoms could include:
- Skin rashes
- Difficulty breathing
- Watery eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Runny nose
Anaphylaxis And Serious Reactions To A Medication
Severe reactions to medications could involve cases of anaphylaxis. This is a serious condition that, if not treated quickly, could lead to death. It causes dysfunction of various systems within the human body and could cause symptoms such as:
- Stomach cramps
- Rapid, weak pulse
- Tightening of the throat or airways
- Difficulty breathing
Some allergic reactions could cause serious conditions that could present some time after the drug has been taken. These are considered rare but could include:
Kidney inflammation – This condition, known as nephritis, could cause blood in your urine, fever, confusion, general swelling and other uncomfortable symptoms.
Drug-induced anaemia – This is a reduction in the number of red blood cells in the body. It could cause an irregular heartbeat, fatigue, breathlessness and other symptoms.
Serum sickness – This condition could cause you to suffer nausea, joint pain, fever, rash or swelling.
DRESS (Drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms) – This could cause a recurrence of a hepatitis infection that was previously dormant, along with general swelling, a high white blood count and swelling to the lymph nodes.
So, you’re pondering, “my doctor prescribed medication I am allergic to”. And so you’re thinking about how to treat the allergy. So, what is the best medication for an allergic reaction? This would depend on the type and severity of the reaction you were suffering.
Some allergic reactions to medications are treated by simply stopping taking the medication in question. Once the drug has left your system, in some cases, symptoms could dissipate on their own. Your doctor should include your reaction on your medical record, so they and other doctors looking at your medical records could avoid prescribing the medication in the future, where possible.
Or, if you are required to continue taking the medication, your doctor may prescribe you further medication to minimise any reaction. These medications could include:
Antihistamines – These help block histamine, a substance your body produces when it thinks something within your body is harmful.
Corticosteroids – These help to reduce inflammation that could lead to symptoms such as the swelling of airways, for example.
Bronchodilators – These help to open your airways. If your medication is causing wheezing or coughing, and you cannot stop taking the medication, these might help reduce such symptoms.
Regarding drug allergic reaction treatment for anaphylaxis, this would usually be an emergency in the hospital and could include a combination of drugs such as adrenaline, oxygen, antihistamines, cortisone, and beta-agonists.
If your GP has access to your medical records, which lists your allergies, or you have told them of your allergies, they should avoid prescribing medications you are allergic to. This forms part of their duty of care to provide you with a safe, effective service. If a GP makes a mistake and provides you with medication that contains ingredients you are known to be allergic to. You suffer an allergic reaction because of this, causing you harm. It could lead to a drug allergic reaction compensation claim.
Whether you are being treated at the hospital as an outpatient, as an emergency or as an inpatient, you should be asked about any allergies you have. Your medical records should also be checked before you are given any medication. Medical professionals working in hospitals also have a duty of care towards their patients. There should be protocols to avoid patients being prescribed medicines they are known to be allergic to. If you are given medication in error that you are known to be allergic to, you could consider claiming compensation if taking the medication has caused you to suffer harm that could have been avoided.
Have you suffered harm due to being given medication you are allergic to at a pharmacy? Your pharmacist has a duty of care towards you, just as your doctor does, and if they are aware of your allergies, they should avoid dispensing medication you are allergic to.
If you tell them about your allergies and give them medication by mistake containing such allergens, you could consider claiming compensation for your allergic reaction to the medication.
Various medications could cause an allergic reaction. However, some medications have a higher rate of allergic reactions than others. Here, we have put together a common drug allergy list to give you an idea of which medications could be more likely than others to cause an allergic reaction:
- Antibiotics – Penicillin would be one example. If you’re wondering how you know if you’re having an allergic reaction to antibiotics, symptoms could include hives, itchy eyes, swelling of the tongue, lips and face. It could also lead to anaphylaxis.
- Pain-relieving medication – This could include Naproxen, aspirin, ibuprofen and others.
- Autoimmune condition treatments
- Chemotherapy medications
Drug allergies only affect certain individuals. They involve the patient’s immune system and always cause negative symptoms.
Side effects caused by medications could have similar symptoms to those of an allergic reaction, but they could occur in any person taking a drug. Side effects could be helpful or harmful. They are, put, effects that are not the drug’s main function.
Sometimes, patients could react to a drug but not because their immune system has caused the reaction. Symptoms could be similar to a drug allergy. These are known as pseudo allergic drug reactions or nonallergenic hypersensitivity drug reactions.
Suppose you are known to react to a drug adversely, whether due to an allergy or a non-allergic reaction. Your doctor should, where possible, avoid giving you such medication where possible. If their negligent action causes you to suffer avoidable harm, you could consider claiming compensation. We should mention that you could claim compensation for either NHS negligence or negligence from a private hospital, doctor or clinic.
So, you’re thinking, “my doctor prescribed medication I am allergic to”, but you wonder what to claim for. Each claim is assessed separately, and an independent doctor must assess the injured party’s medical condition to obtain a medical report that can be submitted as evidence. This medical report would be used to calculate the general damages (for pain, suffering and loss of amenity) that could be appropriate for your medical negligence claim.
For this reason, a medical negligence calculator, similar to a personal injury claims calculator, could not give you an accurate answer as to how much compensation you could receive for an allergic reaction to a medication. However, we understand that you may be looking for an approximation of how much compensation you could be entitled to.
This is why we’ve put together the table below. It includes injuries that we believe could relate to a drug allergic reaction compensation claim and the compensation brackets they could fall into. We have used figures from the Judicial College Guidelines, a legal publication updated each year to offer guidance on compensation settlements.
|Type of injury caused||Notes||Compensation Bracket|
|Kidney damage||If there is a significant risk of the injured party developing future urinary tract infections, or there is another total loss of the natural function of the kidney.||Up to £60,050|
|Bowel damage||Loss of the bowel’s natural function, and requirement for colostomy due to damage.||Up to £140,870|
|Toxicosis||Acute levels of pain, diarrhoea, fever and vomiting. This would require hospital treatment as an in-patient for days/weeks. Could result in continuing IBS, haemorrhoids and more. They could have an effect on the injured party’s ability to attend work, or to enjoy their life.||Up to £49,270|
|Poisoning||Causing significant levels of discomfort, as well as alteration of the bowel’s function, fatigue and cramps. Symptoms could last for some weeks but the patient would have recovered between 1-2 years||Up to £8,950|
|Breathing difficulties||Not disabling breathlessness but breathlessness that requires frequent usage of inhalers. Significant effects on working and social life.||Up to £51,460|
|Temporary aggravation of chest issues or bronchitis||Resolving within a few months||Up to £5,000|
If you cannot find your injury on the table, this does not mean you would not claim for it. We could offer an approximation of how much your claim could be worth if you call our team.
In addition to the general damages you could receive for your injuries, you could also claim for any costs/losses you’ve sustained directly because of your injuries. These could include, but are not limited to:
Loss of income – If your injuries have left you abstaining from work for some time because you needed to recover from an allergic reaction to a medication, you may have lost out on some of your income. You could include this loss of income within your claim. If your injuries have led to you being unable to return to work at all, you may be able to claim for future loss of income too.
Care expenses – If you have required at-home care because of your injuries to help you with dressing or washing, for example, the expenses for this could also be included.
Medical expenses – Whether you have required counselling because of trauma caused by an allergic reaction to medication or you have had to pay for prescription costs, medical expenses that your injuries have caused could be included as special damages.
Travel expenses – Have you paid for parking for a hospital appointment that came about because of your injuries, or have you needed to pay for travel to see your medical negligence lawyer? You could include travel costs within your claim too.
We must stress that when claiming special damages, proof of these costs/losses is vital. It would be prudent of you to put aside any receipts, bank statements or payslips relating to your losses and expenses to pass them onto your lawyer so they could include them within your claim. If you cannot provide evidence of such costs or losses, then you may not be able to include them within your claim.
Keep time limits in mind when thinking, “my doctor prescribed medication I am allergic to, can I claim?” Just like a personal injury claim, a medical negligence claim would be time-barred. This means you would have only a certain amount of time to take action against the negligent party. The medical negligence time limit, similar to the personal injury claims time limit, is usually three years. The date this time limit starts could differ depending on your specific circumstances. In the table below, you can see what limit could apply to your claim. There are some exceptions to this, so if you are unsure whether you could still claim an allergic reaction to a medication, you can call our team, and we’ll be happy to advise.
|Immediately aware that negligence had caused harm due to an allergic reaction.||3 years from the date of reaction.|
|Discovered harm later.||3 years from discovery date.|
|Parent claiming for a child’s allergic reaction||Up to the child’s 18th birthday|
|Adult claiming for something that happened as a child||Up to their 21st birthday|
Would you like to claim avoidable harm caused by an allergic reaction to medication with the help of a solicitor but are not sure you’d be able to pay them upfront for their services? Why not consider working with a No Win No Fee solicitor? A No Win No Fee case would work under an agreement called a Conditional Fee Agreement. You would not have to pay your lawyer before working on your case or throughout your claim.
Instead, once the solicitor had secured you a compensation payout, you would pay them a small percentage of your compensation as a ‘success fee’. The percentage is legally capped, so you need not worry that all of your compensation would be taken up in legal fees. If your No Win No Fee medical negligence solicitor did not successfully secure you any compensation, you would not have to settle their success fee.
If you have any further questions about making a medical negligence claim under these terms, our team would be glad to answer them.
Here at Medical Negligence Assist, we are committed to providing potential claimants with all the information they could need to decide on whether to go ahead with a compensation claim. We could also offer guidance and support to help you begin such a claim.
When you call us, we’ll take some details of what’s happened to you and ask any relevant questions about your situation to ascertain how best to help you. If you have questions about the claims process, we will do all we can to answer them without using complex legal jargon. Where we have to use legal terms, we will explain them fully. We will also offer you a no-obligation assessment of your eligibility to claim without charge.
If we think you could be entitled to claim to conduct an assessment of your case, we could then offer to connect you with a No Win No Fee medical negligence lawyer, who could take your case forward for you.
It’s easy to get in touch with us. You can call us on 0800 652 3087, or fill out our contact form, and we could call you back. Alternatively, why not use the Live Chat service? Why not get in touch today with no charge for advice or to check your eligibility to claim?
NHS – Anaphylaxis – Here, you can read more about allergic reactions that lead to anaphylaxis and the treatment that may be required.
Allergy Treatment – The NHS has also produced information on allergy treatments here.
Making A Complaint To The NHS – Here, you can find information relating to making a complaint regarding the treatment you’ve received on the NHS.
Hospital Negligence – Here, you can read our guidance on claiming medical negligence at a hospital.
Was Your GP At Fault? – If your GP prescribed you medication that you were known to be allergic to, this guide may be of use to you.
Wrongful Death Negligence – If you have lost someone you loved due to negligent medical treatment, this guide may offer you some useful information.
Doctor Prescribed Medication I Am Allergic To FAQs
Can you sue a doctor for prescribing medication you’re allergic to?
You can do so, but only if you can prove that the allergic reaction was preventable.
How do I know if I’m allergic to a medication?
Typical symptoms include hives, a fever or a rash.
Why am I allergic to all medications?
This is due to your immune system treating a drug as a more serious and harmful element. And so this creates an allergic reaction within your body as it fights back.
What is the most common allergic reaction to a drug?
The most frequent symptoms are hives, rashes, itchiness, swelling and congestion.
What are the four types of allergic reactions?
These are type I/anaphylactic reactions, type II/cytotoxic reactions, type III/immunocomplex reactions, and type IV/cell-mediation reactions.
How long might an allergic reaction last?
This could range from several hours to several days, depending on the severity.
What should you avoid if you are allergic to penicillin?
Drugs to avoid would include amoxicillin, amoxicillin-clavulanate, ampicillin, nafcillin, dicloxacillin and piperacillin-tazobactam.
What is the difference between a drug allergy and a drug sensitivity?
Drug allergies manifest quickly after using drugs, whereas drug sensitivities build up over days and weeks.
Written by Jo
Edited b LisM.
Thank you for reading our guide covering such scenarios as, “my doctor prescribed medication I am allergic to.”