Allergic reactions from handling psyllium have been reported since 1970. Health professionals and workers in laxative-manufacturing plants are at greatest risk. Sensitized people are at risk of life-threatening anaphylactic reactions. Two illustrative cases are presented. The first is A 39-year-old female dialysis nurse with a 3-year history of nasal and eye symptoms from exposure to psyllium. She obtained an over-the-counter psyllium bulk laxative, took it for constipation and developed flushing, tachycardia, urticaria, angioedema, laryngeal edema, and lightheadedness. An epicutaneous skin test and radioallergosorbent test for psyllium were both strongly positive. The second is a 42-year-old female nurse with a history of asthma who had allergic nasal and eye symptoms while dispensing psyllium. She received a prescription for cystallized psyllium, took it by mouth, and developed immediate flushing, tachycardia, urticaria, and angioedema. With subsequent ingestion of psyllium she had, in addition, severe wheezing, lightheadedness, and loss of consciousness. A psyllium epicutaneous skin test was strongly positive. These patient reports illustrate the risk of severe allergic reactions in sensitized people. Ingestion by sensitized people, such as from a routine postoperative and postpartum order, is potentially dangerous.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1990-09-01
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