Edema and Related Medical Conditions

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Medications that May Cause Edema

Medications that may cause swelling

Many prescription and nonprescription medications can cause swelling. You may be having an allergic reaction if swelling develops suddenly after taking a new medication. The seriousness of the allergic reaction caused by a medication will vary. If you think that you are having an allergic reaction to a medication, call your health professional to discuss your symptoms.

Medications or solutions used in medical procedures that may cause swelling related to an allergic reaction include:

Antibiotics, such as penicillins, cephalosporins, or sulfa (sulfonamides).
Aspirin as well as other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Antiseizure medications.
Local anesthetics.
Contrast dyes used in X-ray studies.
Blood products.
Certain enzymes, such as trypsin.

Medications that may cause swelling as a side effect include:

Hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone oral contraceptives or testosterone.
Dilantin, which causes swelling of the gums (gingival hypoplasia).
Corticosteroid therapy, such as prednisone or Hexadrol, when taken for long periods of time.

Call the health professional who prescribed the medication to determine whether you should stop taking the medication or take a different one. An appointment may not be necessary. If you are taking a nonprescription medication, stop taking it. Call your health professional if you feel you need to continue taking the medication.


Sydney Youngerman-Cole, RN, BSN, RNC
Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN, MBA
Associate Editor
Michele Cronen
Primary Medical Reviewer
William M. Green, MD- Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
H. Michael O'Connor, MD- Emergency Medicine
Last Updated
December 13, 2004
Sydney Youngerman-Cole, RN, BSN, RNC
Last Updated December 13, 2004

Medical Review:
William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine

Mercy Health