what drugs should be avoided with sulfa allergy

What Drugs Should Be Avoided With Sulfa Allergy 101?

According to 2021 statistics 10% of the U.S. population are allergic to antibiotics containing sulfonamides. This medical condition where people are allergic to antibiotics containing sulfonamides is called sulfa allergy. However, as most people worry about what drugs should be avoided with sulfa allergy, we’re going to take this one at a time.

“Sulfa” a.k.a sulfonamides is a group of drugs that consists of antibiotics. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. Although sulfonamides help in restricting the growth of bacteria still some people on medication containing sulfa might experience common symptoms like skin rash, hives, headache, and nausea varied to some severe symptoms like shortness of breath, sore throat, and muscle ache. 

To prevent allergic reactions to sulfa, we are going to discuss what drugs should be avoided with sulfa allergy. 

Where is sulfa used?

As we already know sulfa or sulfonamides are used to handle medical conditions with bacterial infections like: 

  • Crohn’s Disease
  • UTIs
  • Leprosy
  • Cystitis.
  • Dermatitis
  • Vaginitis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

What drugs should be avoided with sulfa allergy?

what drugs should be avoided with sulfa allergy

Despite treating such serious medical issues, sulfa on its own can become a medication if a patient is allergic to sulfa. Some common sulfonamides are:

  • Mafenide.
  • Sulfacetamide.
  • Sulfadiazine.
  • Sulfadoxine.
  • Sulfamethizole.
  • Sulfanilamide.
  • Sulfasalazine.
  • Sulfisoxazole.
  • Sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim.
  • Dapsone.

Sulfa doesn’t just consist of antibiotic medications but also in some medications that help you in lowering your blood sugar levels, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and drugs to treat migraines. 

Like any allergic reaction sulfa allergic reactions can also be life-threatening if a person has developed Anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction where a person might go into coma. Along with many symptoms, people with a sulfa allergy might experience Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a fatal skin peeling condition. So, it is important to discuss all your symptoms with your health professionals to avoid any serious medical issues. 

Drugs To Be Avoided With Sulfa Allergy

While combating the sulfa allergy, there’s not much one can do except avoid the drugs that have sulfonamides which include: 

  • Septra and Bactrim (sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim)
  • Pediazole (erythromycin-sulfisoxazole)
  • Loop diuretics, such as bumetanide and furosemide
  • Sulfonylureas
  • Triptans

Any prevention before consuming the drug is impossible if the patient is unaware of the sulfa allergy but after knowing about the allergy you can only avoid it. However, in some cases, if a patient consumes a drug unknowingly that it contains sulfonamides he will get an allergic reaction. To treat that allergic reaction medical experts might suggest drugs like antihistamines or corticosteroids for mild reactions. For more severe cases, Epipen which is a kind of injection that a patient can inject by himself is used. 

Sulfa might be found in many drugs but the primary cause of allergic reaction is sulfonamide antibiotics. However, it doesn’t mean that drugs that have sulfa will not react or poorly react to the patient. In a study, it was found that penicillin has caused more allergic reactions in people with sulfa allergy than sulfonamide antibiotics. This is why patients need to disclose their medical history of drug allergies to help the doctor in making a careful decision contemplating all the risks and the benefits. 


After reading this article, you know what sulfa allergy is, where it is used, and which drugs should be avoided with sulfa allergy. The straight answer to this is to avoid any drug that contains sulfonamides which are majorly antibiotics drugs but avoiding just sulfonamides is not enough as sulfa is included in many drugs. Many drugs that aren’t even antibiotics might give you an allergic reaction. Patients with a sulfa allergy should be cautious while consuming any medication. 

Also read: how many days to break an addiction easily.

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