Type-1 hypersensitivity reaction represents an acute IgE-mediated reaction that can cause life-threatening conditions, such as anaphylactic shock, angioedema, and airway obstruction. Other reactions that can mimic type-1 hypersensitivity reactions include IgE-independent mast cell degranulation, bradykinin-mediated reactions, leukotrienes-mediated reactions, and pseudo-allergies. We use the term pseudo-allergy in this article for histamine-mediated reactions that are mast cell-independent. We did not discuss pseudo-allergic reactions that are not acute or life-threatening, such as celiac disease, Heiner’s syndrome, eosinophilic esophagitis, and food protein-induced enterocolitis in our article because the emergency department is not the primary location to diagnose or treat these reactions. Herein, we present some allergic-like reactions that can be life-threatening, such as scombroid food poisoning (SFP), bradykinin-induced angioedema, IgEindependent angioedema, opioid-induced angioedema, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)induced hypersensitivity and angioedema. These reactions may have different treatments based on their mechanism of reaction. Histamine-mediated reactions, such as SFP, histamine-mediated angioedema, and mast cell degranulation induced by NSAIDs, and opioids can be treated with antihistamines, epinephrine, and corticosteroids. Bradykinin-induced angioedema, including hereditary angioedema and acquired angioedema, can be treated with fresh frozen plasma. Hereditary angioedema can be treated with many FDA-approved targeted medications, such as plasma-derived C1-INH, plasma kallikrein inhibitor (Ecallantide), and selective bradykinin-2 receptor antagonist (Icatibant). However, these targeted agents are not well-studied enough to be used for acquired angioedema. It is crucial for emergency medicine physicians to be familiar with and predict these reactions to prevent misdiagnosis, be prepared to treat these lifethreatening conditions appropriately without delay and eliminate patients’ exposure to any unnecessary investigations or treatments.
hereditary angioedema, leukotrienes, pseudo-allergy, scombroid poisoning, bradykinin mediated angioedema, histamine, drug-induced angioedema, type 1 hypersensitivity, hypersensitivity reactions, allergy and anaphylaxis
Eraky AM, Wright A, McDonald D. Pseudo-Allergies in the Emergency Department: A Common Misdiagnosis of Hypersensitivity Type 1 Allergic Reaction. Cureus. 2023; 15(10). doi: 10.7759/cureus.46536.