Penicillin allergy

By Medically reviewed by Hello Doktor Medical Panel


What is penicillin allergy?

Penicillin allergy is an abnormal reaction of your immune system to the antibiotic drug penicillin. Penicillin is prescribed for treating various bacterial infections.

How common is penicillin allergy?

Approximately 10% of patients report an allergy to penicillin. However, the majority of patients (greater than 90%) may not truly be allergic. Most people lose their penicillin allergy over time, even patients with a history of severe reaction such as anaphylaxis. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of penicillin allergy?

The common symptoms of penicillin allergy are:

  • Coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Hives (red bumps on your skin that might be itchy)
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Itchiness on other parts of your body
  • Runny nose
  • Swelling of your skin, often around your face
  • Tightness in your throat

In rare cases, you might have a severe reaction called anaphylaxis. You or someone near you should call emergency if:

  • Your belly hurts.
  • It’s hard to breathe.
  • You have diarrhea.
  • You’re dizzy or light-headed, or you pass out.
  • You have seizures.
  • Your throat or tongue swells up.
  • There’s tightness in your chest.
  • You throw up, or feel like you might.

Though it’s not common, some allergic reactions can happen days or weeks later. Here are the some of the symptoms you would want to look out for:

  • Your joints hurt.
  • You have swelling.
  • You have a rash.
  • You feel like you’re about to throw up.
  • You get very tired.
  • You have a fever.
  • You feel confused.
  • Your heartbeat seems “off.”
  • There’s blood in your pee.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes pseudobulbar affect?

Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) typically occurs in people with neurological conditions or injuries, including:

While further research is needed, the cause of PBA is believed to involve injury to the neurological pathways that regulate the external expression of emotion (affect).

Risk factors

What increases my risk for pseudobulbar affect?

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is pseudobulbar affect diagnosed?

Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) is typically diagnosed during a neurological evaluation. Specialists who can diagnose PBA include internists, neuropsychologists, neurologists and psychiatrists.

PBA is often misdiagnosed as depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, a personality disorder and epilepsy. To help your doctor determine if you have PBA, share specific details about your emotional outbursts.

How is pseudobulbar affect treated?

The goal of treatment for pseudobulbar affect (PBA) is to reduce the severity and frequency of emotional outbursts. Medication options include:

  • Antidepressants, such as tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can help reduce the frequency and severity of your PBA episodes. Antidepressants for the treatment of PBA are typically prescribed at doses lower than are those used to treat depression.
  • Dextromethorphan hydrobromide and quinidine sulfate (Nuedexta). This is the only medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration that is designed to specifically treat PBA. A study on people with MS and ALS showed that those taking the medication had only about half as many laughing and crying episodes as did those taking the placebo.

Your doctor will help you choose the best therapy for you, taking into account possible medication side effects and any other conditions you have and medications you use.

An occupational therapist also can help you develop ways to complete everyday tasks despite your PBA.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage pseudobulbar affect?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with pseudobulbar affect:

  • Talk to people about PBA and how it affects you and your family. This will help prevent those around you from being surprised or confused when an episode occurs.
  • Shift position. If you feel a laughing or crying attack coming on, change how you’re sitting or standing.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply. Keep doing this during an episode until you feel in control.
  • A flare-up is emotional and can make your muscles tense. Relax your shoulders and forehead after one happens.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Share now :

Review Date: November 27, 2017 | Last Modified: December 8, 2019

You might also like