Drug (Medication) Allergy Test
Ages 18+ only; Could vary by provider
Typically 48-72 hours
Drug Allergy Testing
Drug allergy tests can tell you whether you are allergic to certain chemical compounds (drugs and medications), such as penicillin. Knowing whether you have a drug allergy can help you avoid medications that trigger allergy symptoms so you can avoid possible life-threatening complications like anaphylaxis.
What are the symptoms of a drug allergy?
Drug allergy symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can occur shortly after taking a medication or hours later, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI). Common symptoms of a drug allergy include:
- Skin rash or hives
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Anaphylaxis—a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction that can cause shock and difficulty breathing
Can you have a drug allergy without knowing it?
In some cases, a person may have a mild allergic reaction to a medication and not realize it, thinking it is just a side effect of the drug or a symptom of their underlying condition, according to the AAAAI. Repeated exposure to the drug can result in a more severe allergic reaction.
What does drug allergy testing consist of?
Drug allergy testing consists of an allergist assessing your medical history, in addition to allergy testing techniques such as:
- Skin testing
- Blood testing
- Challenge testing
- Patch testing
- Oral challenge testing
Types of drug allergy tests
Drug allergies can be diagnosed using a variety of testing techniques, including a skin test, challenge testing, or blood testing, according to the AAAAI. They also note that drug allergies can be difficult to diagnose and that your doctor will usually use drug testing in addition to other testing and obtaining a detailed medical history to make the diagnosis.
During a drug challenge, you will be given the drug or medication suspected of triggering an allergic reaction. Then, you will be closely monitored by medical staff for any reaction.
Skin scratch or skin prick tests
During a scratch test, your provider will place small amounts of the suspected drugs on different areas of your skin. Then, your provider will lightly scratch or prick your skin where the drugs were placed. If you are allergic to any of the drugs, a small red bump will show up on your skin within 15 to 20 minutes, according to the AAAAI. The AAAAI also notes that this test is only useful for diagnosing an allergy to penicillin and other drugs that contain penicillin.
The intradermal test is usually only performed when a scratch test is negative, but your provider still thinks you may be allergic to a drug. During an intradermal test, a small amount of the drug is injected into your skin using a small, thin needle. Then, your provider will watch the injection site for an allergic reaction.
An allergy blood test is performed like any other routine blood test. During this test, your provider will use a small, thin needle to draw a small amount of blood from a vein in your arm or hand. Then, your sample is taken to a lab, where it is evaluated for allergens. According to the AAAAI, an allergy blood test usually takes less than five minutes to perform, although the results may take days to weeks.
Who should get a drug allergy test?
Drug allergy testing is generally recommended for anyone who thinks they may be allergic to a drug, according to the AAAAI. If you are allergic to a drug, you will likely experience allergy symptoms when using that drug, or any other medications that include that drug as an ingredient.
Common symptoms of drug allergies, according to the AAAAI, are:
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of the mouth and throat
- Abdominal cramping and pain
- Lowered blood pressure
The majority of reactions caused by medications are referred to as “adverse reactions”. The AAAAI also notes that there are two main categories of adverse reactions to drugs: a true allergic reaction that involves the immune system and Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies and non-allergic reactions.
True allergic reactions occur in only a small percentage of people. Examples of adverse reactions to drugs that are not considered true allergic reactions include expected (known) side effects, overdosing, and worsening of the treated condition.
How to get a drug allergy test
Your doctor may refer you to an allergy specialist (allergist) if you or your doctor think you may be allergic to a drug or medication. Allergists do the necessary testing to find out whether you are allergic to one or more drugs. The AAAAI notes that an allergist can sometimes make a clinical diagnosis based only on your medical history and symptoms.
If you are experiencing an allergic reaction and take multiple drugs or medications at the same time, it may be difficult for the allergist to identify which drug is causing your symptoms. In that case, the allergist may recommend stopping one or more drugs until the allergen is confirmed, reports the AAAAI.
Another way to get a drug allergy test is to use Solv to look for allergists in your local area. Solv features a directory of only the highest-rated providers and allows you to browse patient reviews and book an appointment with no phone call necessary.
What to expect during drug allergy testing
Drug allergy testing is similar to other types of allergy testing. You can expect the allergist to start by obtaining a detailed medical history and asking questions about the symptoms you experienced during the drug exposure.
How long does a drug allergy test take?
Blood tests take only a few minutes to gather a blood sample. Skin tests, challenge tests, intradermal tests, and patch tests all take varying amounts of time—however, they yield results much faster than blood tests according to the AAAAI.
Understanding your drug allergy test results
If you test positive for any part of your drug allergy test, the allergist will develop a plan to help prevent further exposure to the drug(s) you are allergic. This may include noting in your medical record to avoid receiving certain classes of medications.
Finding a drug allergy test
You can get an allergy test from a healthcare provider at a walk-in clinic or an urgent care center. Your primary care provider may refer you to an allergist, a doctor specializing in allergic disorders, when you do not respond well to treatment or if a more accurate diagnosis is necessary for management.
Solv can help you get an appointment with an allergist.
Can I get an at-home drug allergy test?
There are some at-home allergy testing kits available for purchase, however, many of these at-home tests do not test for specific drug allergies. It is best to see a medical provider if you suspect a drug allergy, according to the AAAAI.
Cost of drug allergy testing
The cost of drug allergy testing in the USA can vary widely depending on the type of test, the location, the provider, and insurance coverage. Average costs according to the Healthcare Bluebook, a website that provides estimates of fair prices for healthcare services, ranges from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
Drugs that commonly cause an allergic reaction
Penicillin is the most common drug allergy, says the AAAAI. They also report that if you have an allergic reaction after taking penicillin, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will have a similar reaction to another antibiotic that contains penicillin—such as amoxicillin—but it is more likely to happen.
Other drugs that commonly cause allergic reactions include aspirin, ibuprofen, Amoxicillin, cephalosporin, anticonvulsants, and chemotherapy drugs, adds the AAAAI.
How it works
Order your test
Easily browse and book lab tests in a wide variety of categories.
Visit a lab
With over 2,000 labs and urgent care clinics to choose from, select the best location for you.
Get results online
Receive your results securely and quickly, including charts and explanations.
Why use Solv?
Testing designed for you
We've partnered with over 2000 lab testing centers and urgent cares to get the answers you need.
Flexible ways to pay
Use insurance for a doctor-prescribed lab, or simply pay for a self-ordered test.
Use your results and insights to take action on your health.
Safe and secure
CLIA certified, secure bank-grade encryption, HIPAA compliant.
Reviewed by physicians
Board-certified physicians review your results before you receive them.
As seen in the press
10+ million patients trust Solv
“The app is great. Easiest way to make an appointment and get lab results”
“So easy and minimal wait in line for lab work”
“This is my third or fourth time using the app. So fast and convenient, very easy app to use.”
“I love this app! It's quick and easy to schedule an appointment. Thank you for simplifying the process.”
Drug Allergy Testing FAQs
Find answers to the most commonly asked questions about lab tests.
- Allergic reactions: In rare cases, drug allergy testing can cause a severe allergic reaction.
- Skin irritation: Skin testing can cause mild skin irritation or itching at the test site.
- Anaphylaxis: In rare cases, challenge testing can cause a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis.
This publication is not intended to solicit the purchase of laboratory testing from any individual consumer.
Dr. Rob Rohatsch currently serves as Chief Medical Officer for Solv Health. Dr. Rohatsch brings his extensive background in multi-site ambulatory medicine operations, on-demand healthcare, and consumerism to Solv, where he helps drive strategic initiatives in a cross functional executive role. He brings comprehensive healthcare expertise ranging from medical group operations to revenue cycle management and clinical expertise.
Dr. Rohatsch completed his military service in the US Air Force and earned his MD from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Rohatsch served on the Yale School of Medicine faculty teaching at the medical school and is currently on faculty at the Haslam School of Business at the University of Tennessee teaching in the Executive MBA Program. He also serves on several boards and chairs The TJ Lobraico Foundation.
Shop all lab test categories
Diagnosing STDs is an important part of everyday health for both men and women. These tests and panels help assess and diagnose common sexually-transmitted infections.
View all 11 tests
Getting tested for Hepatitis can be key to ensuring you're healthy. These tests will help diagnose Hepatitis A, B, and C.
View all 3 tests
Getting allergy testing is vital for identifying and avoiding triggers to allergic reactions, reducing your risk of anaphylaxis, and improving your overall quality of life.
View all 11 tests
Women's Health Tests
When it comes to optimizing their well-being, women can complete screenings to ensure that they are healthy. These tests and panels help assess risk for certain diseases and medical conditions.
View all 7 tests
Men's Health Tests
When it comes to optimizing their well-being, men can complete screenings to ensure that they are healthy. These tests and panels help assess risk for certain diseases and medical conditions.
View all 4 tests
Family Planning, Pregnancy & Fertility Testing
Fertility testing can enable educated decisions about pregnancy and family planning. These tests help men and women evaluate markers related to sexual health, pregnancy, and fetal development.
View all 4 tests
Designed for athletes training at high volumes and intensities, these fitness profiles can give insights to help optimize your training.
View all 3 tests
Diabetes testing can help diagnose, and evaluate how well your diabetes plan is working. These tests measure blood glucose, and Hemoglobin A1c.
View all 2 tests
Drug tests help check for the presence of amphetamines, benzodiazepines, marijuana metabolite, cocaine metabolite, opiates, and oxycodone in the urine.
View all 4 tests
Infectious Disease Testing
Infectious disease testing can help you understand your status and enable you to seek treatment for bacterial or viral infections.
View all 12 tests
Regardless if you have symptoms or are asymptomatic, COVID-19 tests can check for active infections or immunity antibodies.
View all 3 tests
Vitamin Deficiency & Nutrition Testing
Vitamin and nutrition testing can help you get a better understanding of your overall health. These tests will measure your mineral and vitamin levels.
View all 3 tests
Gut Health Test
Gut health tests can detect, monitor, and potentially expose future disorders. These tests help identify bacterial infections, autoimmune disorders, and more.
View all 4 tests
General Wellness Tests
General health and wellness tests can assess your risk for certain diseases and medical conditions. These general health panels check important biometric markers for both men and women.
View all 19 tests
Thyroid disorders can affect any system of your body and treatment will depend on the specific thyroid condition. These tests can help diagnose and monitor thyroid function in both men and women.
View all 2 tests
Find labs by state
In the event of a medical emergency, dial 911 or visit your closest emergency room immediately.
The content provided here and elsewhere on the Solv Health site or mobile app is provided for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as, and Solv Health, Inc. does not provide, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always contact your healthcare provider directly with any questions you may have regarding your health or specific medical advice.