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The University of Southampton

MEDI6242 Drug Allergy

Module Overview

Allergic reactions to drugs are common, complex and often misunderstood. Drug allergy is a specialist area of allergy that requires dedicated training and therefore in this module, you will explore all aspects of drug allergy in depth. The module teaches about the immunological basis for drug allergy and will explore the variety of presentations of different patterns of drug allergy across the spectrum of hypersensitivity mechanisms including IgE mediated drug allergy and non-IgE mediated drug allergy. The sessions will include detail on pathogenesis, diagnosis, investigations and management. Key drugs will be covered, including antibiotics, analgesics and anaesthetic agents. You will also explore teaching topics through interactive clinical cases and take part in practicals to learn intradermal testing. This module comprehensively covers both paediatric and adult disease.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Solve complex clinical and scientific issues systematically.
  • Formulate informed judgements in a clinical and/or scientific setting.
Disciplinary Specific Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Discuss the different forms of hypersensitivity reactions (I to IV).
  • Evaluate the pathogenesis, diagnosis, investigation and management of drug allergy.
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Interpret diagnostic information from clinical scenarios of drug allergy.
  • Determine the differential diagnoses of reaction patterns similar to drug allergic causes.


• Mechanisms of drug allergy (Type I - IV) • Drug Allergy differential diagnosis • Antibiotic allergy, including penicillin and alternatives to penicillin • Analgesic allergy, including NSAIDs • Perioperative drug allergy • In vitro diagnostic tests for drug allergy (IgE / T cell mediated) • In vivo diagnostic tests for drug allergy (SPT, intradermal and patch testing) • Practical on the preparation of drugs and intradermal testing • Drug rashes and relationship to allergic mechanisms • Drug induced angioedema e.g. ACE inhibitors • Desensitisation • Challenges and impact of drug allergy de-labelling

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

A variety of learning and teaching methods will be adopted to promote a wide range of skills and meet the differing learning styles of the group. The techniques will include seminars, group work, practical demonstrations and exercises surrounding interpretation of data and clinical scenarios. Specialist lecturers from a range of academic and health care professional backgrounds will be used to ensure a breadth and depth of perspective is offered, giving a good balance between background theories and principles and practical management advice.

Independent Study82
Total study time100

Resources & Reading list

Rook's Textbook of Dermatology. Griffiths CEM, Barker J, Bleiker T, et al. (eds.). Rook's Textbook of Dermatology 9th ed. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell; 2016. Chapters on adverse reactions to drugs (Ch 12) and benign cutaneous adverse reactions to drugs (Ch 18). Note: library have the eBook of this new 9th edition.

Holgate S, Church, M and Lichtenstein L (2011). Allergy. 

Diagnosis and management of drug allergy in adults, children and young people: summary of NICE guidance. Dworzynski K, Ardern-Jones M et al. BMJ. 2014 Sep 3;349:g4852. doi: 10.1136/bmj.g4852.

International Consensus on drug allergy.. Demoly et al. Allergy. 2014 Apr;69(4):420-37. International Consensus on drug allergy.

Useful journals:.  Allergy Clinical Experimental Allergy Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

Global Atlas of Allergy. EAACI have produced an online Global Atlas of Allergy. To access the atlas, visit


Assessment Strategy

The assessment for the module provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes. The Multiple Choice Question examination will be case-based, allowing you the opportunity to (1) demonstrate the depth and breadth of your knowledge of drug allergy, along with (2) showing higher cognitive skills and your ability to make sound judgements.


MethodPercentage contribution
Multiple choice question  (2 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Multiple choice question  (2 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Webcams and microphones: It is advisable that students provide their own webcam and microphone (integrated or USB/standalone) to take full advantage of the online support offered during the module.

Computer: It is advisable that students provide their own laptop or personal computer, although shared facilities are available across the University campus.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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