18th August 2017
The Anaphylaxis Campaign is saddened to learn today of the death of Paul Ryan, a 53 year old head teacher from Coventry, due to a severe allergic reaction to antibiotics.
The news emerged following an inquest at Coventry Coroner’s Court which concluded no-one was to blame for Mr Ryan’s death.
From the media report, we understand that Mr Ryan was prescribed a course of antibiotics to combat an ear infection. The GP was aware of Mr Ryan’s allergy to the penicillin-based drug amoxicillin and therefore prescribed an alternative medication containing erythromycin. Unfortunately Mr Ryan had an undiagnosed allergy to this medication and died after experiencing anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction.
The media report may raise concerns for anyone with, or caring for someone with, an allergy to drugs. However, we understand that at the inquest it was made clear that to be allergic to both types of antibiotics is extremely rare.
Drug allergy is most common in adults, especially the elderly, and there is more than one type of drug allergy. Any symptoms believed to have been caused by a drug should be taken seriously and medical advice should be sought from your GP. Because drug allergy is a complex area, referral to a specialist who can manage drug allergy is important in most cases.
If someone starts experiencing severe symptoms this may be a sign the person is experiencing anaphylaxis and they should receive immediate emergency medical attention. We have a fact sheet with more information about the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis here.
We also have a fact sheet which aims to answer some of the questions which you and your family might have about living with an allergy to drugs to help you to minimise risks and learn how to treat an allergic reaction should it occur. You can read this on our website here.
If you have any concerns please contact our helpline team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01252 542 029.
You can read the original news story in the Coventry Telegraph here.