Which drugs are most frequently the cause of acute urticaria (hives)?

Updated: Mar 21, 2018
  • Author: Henry K Wong, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Michael A Kaliner, MD  more...
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Answer

Theoretically, almost any drug can cause an allergic reaction (see the images below); thus, allergic reactions to a wide variety of drugs can occur. Antibiotics, such as penicillin, have been implicated most frequently. [11] Urticarial reactions to penicillin can occur as long as 14 days after a course of treatment has stopped. In this situation, serum sickness may be present.

Urticaria associated with a drug reaction. Urticaria associated with a drug reaction.
Urticaria from drug reaction. Urticaria from drug reaction.

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