Drug desensitization. Mariana C. Castells, MD, Director, Drug Hypersensitivity and Desensitization Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, describes the process of drug desensitization, a method in which a drug is safely re-introduced to a patient who has become allergic to the medication.
During the drug desensitization process, physicians slowly reintroduce a drug to a patient by administering increasing concentrations of the drug. By gradually increasing the dose of the patient’s medication, the patient’s immune system is not activated, allowing patients to resume taking their medication.
The drug desensitization process has allowed patients with cancer to continue on their cancer medication, to complete their treatment plan, and actually to have increased life spans. The drug desensitization process has also enabled patients with rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and other diseases that require monoclonal antibodies to tolerate their first-line therapy. Cystic fibrosis patients have also been successfully desensitized to antibiotics that they need to treat frequent infections.
Drug desensitization is available to everybody who has an allergic reaction. In the past it was assumed that somebody who had a very severe drug reaction should abandon their medication, In fact, patients who are extremely allergic to medications, even those who have had anaphylactic reactions to their medication, can be very safely desensitized.
Learn more about the Drug Hypersensitivity and Desensitization Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital: http://www.brighamandwomens.org/Departments_and_Services/medicine/services/rheumatology/Services/Desensitizationforpatients.aspx
Read the video transcript Drug Desensitization - What It Is & How It Works: http://www.brighamandwomens.org/Departments_and_Services/medicine/services/video-transcripts/drug-desensitization-video-transcript.aspx
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