Hypersensitivity reactions during perioperative period are increasing and may be potentially life-threatening. Therefore, major emphasis is given to prevention. We perform a review to examine which measures should be taken to prevent reactions to products used in elective and emergency surgery. Any patient with a history of previous anaphylaxis or severe reaction during anaesthesia should be referred to allergist for detection of the offending compound. However, the identification of the triggering agent is not always feasible because of the low accuracy of diagnostic tests. In these cases and when emergency surgery is required, it should be considered to replace all drugs administered before the onset of the reaction with alternatives. Furthermore, any cross-reacting agent and latex, especially in patients belonging to populations at-risk for latex allergy should be avoided. In susceptible patients, premedication with antihistamines and corticosteroids might reduce the severity of reaction to drugs or contrast material while it is unclear whether pre-treatment decreases incidence of anaphylactic reactions. There is no evidence that premedication prevents allergic reactions to latex. Overall, physicians should not rely on the efficacy of premedication.
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