Q. Does desensitization mean that you are no longer allergic to a drug? I had a rash for three months after starting Cozaar, but by the time I got into a dermatologist it was gone. My cardiologist wants me to stay on it.
A. If a patient has an adverse reaction to a medication, their immune system may be primed to have a similar reaction every time the patient is exposed to the same medication in the future. If the patient’s physician believes that this particular medication is essential for the patient, desensitization is sometimes recommended. Desensitization involves taking escalating doses of the medication in slowly increasing amounts until reaching the prescribed dose. For medications that are taken daily, desensitization only needs to be performed once. As long as the medication is taken daily, the body maintains a state of desensitization. If more than 2 days pass between doses, the body may not “remember” the desensitized state, and desensitization needs to be performed again.
With regard to your rash in association with Cozaar, you should follow up with your physicians. If you have continued to take this medication with no rash, it is possible that the rash and the medication were not related. If you have adverse symptoms with a necessary medication in the future, you should discuss evaluation and strategies with your allergist.