Ask the Doctor: How to Cope if Sensitive to Antibiotics or Drugs?

This week’s question & answer is from the “Ask the Doctor” page of the Hunter-Hopkins Center site ( It is reproduced with kind permission of clinic director Charles W. Lapp, MD.

Coping with Chemical Sensitivities
Posted May 22, 2012 by Dr. Lapp

Q: “What is the best way to cope with chemical sensitivity syndrome, especially when everything makes you sick but you need to take antibiotics or medications?” – W

A: Unfortunately, the only way to manage multiple chemical sensitivities is to avoid the offending chemical, odor, fume, or smoke. Exposures can trigger headache, nausea, respiratory symptoms, wheezing, and generally feeling unwell. Chemical sensitivities can trigger a flare of CFS/ME/FM, too.

Exposures can be limited or abated by alkalinizing. That is, take a pinch of sodium bicarbonate (such as Arm & Hammer Baking Soda) by mouth and wash it down with a swig of pure filtered water. This can be repeated every 5 minutes until the exposure is abated.

Specialists in chemical sensitivities frequently recommend scavengers (such as vitamin B-12), antioxidants (pycnogenol, resveratrol, and others), and glutathione supplementation (nebulized, parenterally, or as N-Acetyl Cysteine).

When it is necessary to take offending medications or antibiotics, an allergist can sometimes desensitize an individual.


Note: This information has not been reviewed by the FDA. It is generic, is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any illness, condition or disease, and is not meant to replace the personal attention of a medical professional.

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