Hypersensitivity reaction to chemotherapy Symptoms and Causes

symptoms of allergic reaction

Urticaria (hives): Urticaria (hives) are raised, itchy, red patches of skin. This is a common reaction to chemotherapy drugs, usually occurring 36 hours after drug exposure. In most cases, the lesions clear up within 24 hours. However the next time the drug is administered, urticaria may develop within minutes.
Flushing: Flushing is a temporary reddening of the face and neck, which is caused by dilation of the blood capillaries.
Angioedema: Angioedema refers to the swelling that occurs in the tissue just below the skin. Angioedema is similar to hives, except it occurs deeper in the skin. The areas of swelling, known as welts, usually appear around the eyes and mouth. Angioedema may also cause the airways to swell, resulting in difficulty breathing. Patients who experience difficulty breathing should seek medical attention immediately.
Macularpapular rash: A macularpapular rash is a common symptom of a drug-induced, allergic skin reaction. The rash consists of red macular (small, distinct, flat areas) and papular (small raised patches of skin) lesions. The rash first appears on the trunk of the body and then spreads to the extremities. It is usually bright red in color, and the skin may feel hot or itchy. This rash can occur with almost any drug and may develop up to two to three weeks after the drug has been administered. However, it usually develops within 10 days of the initial treatment.
This skin reaction may be severe, appearing all over the body (red rash blends together). A severe rash may cause the skin to peel or produce desquamation (areas of wet or dry open sores). Other symptoms of a severe macularpapular rash may include fever, enlarged lymph nodes and loss of appetite.
Anaphylaxis: Anaphylaxis is a rapid, immune-mediated (allergic), systemic reaction to allergens (like chemotherapy) that the individual has previously been exposed to. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical treatment, including epinephrine, as well as follow-up care with an allergist or immunologist. Symptoms of anaphylaxis can vary from mild to severe and may be life threatening. The most dangerous symptoms are low blood pressure, breathing difficulties, shock and loss of consciousness, all of which can be fatal. The most severe type of anaphylaxis, known as anaphylactic shock, will usually result in death within minutes, if untreated. Anaphylactic shock is characterized by inflammation of the throat and a sudden drop in blood pressure. Even trace amounts of the allergen can result in a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction. Anaphylaxis may occur after inhalation, ingestion, skin contact or injection of an allergen.