Drugs cause most fatal allergic reactions, study finds

Written by New York Times | New York | Updated: Oct 11 2014, 16:07pm hrs
MedicinesIn US, almost 60 per cent of the fatal anaphylaxis cases, or 1,446, were caused by reactions to drugs.
The most common cause of fatal allergic reactions in the US are medicines, especially antibiotics and radiocontrast agents used in imaging studies, a new analysis found.

Using data from the National Centre for Health Statistics, researchers found 2,458 cases of fatal anaphylaxis from 1999 through 2010. Almost 60 percent of the deaths, or 1,446, were caused by reactions to drugs, and in cases where the specific drug was known, half were caused by antibiotics.

The rate of drug-induced fatal reactions almost doubled over the period.

The study, published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, also found that older age was associated with a higher risk for death and that blacks had a higher risk of dying from drugs and food reactions.