In a study of Han Chinese patients, researchers have for the first time directly linked a gene of the immune system to a severe adverse drug reaction called Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), according to a Duke University Medical Center medical geneticist and collaborators in Taiwan.
The sometimes fatal condition is characterized by a blistering rash that can lead to detachment of the skin and inflammation of the gastrointestinal and respiratory lining. More than 100 drugs -- including antibiotics, NSAIDS, anticonvulsants and the gout drug allopurinol -- are known to cause SJS in rare cases. The frequency with which particular prescriptions spur the devastating reaction varies among people of different ethnic backgrounds.
Their new test for the predisposing gene could be applied almost immediately to determine which of the 1.2 billion Chinese worldwide would be at risk for the reaction to the popular anti-epilepsy drug carbamazepine (trade name Tegretol), said Y-T Chen, M.D., chief of medical genetics at Duke University Medical Center and director of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at Academia Sinica in Taiwan. The anticonvulsant is the most common cause of SJS among the Chinese population.
Kendall Morgan | dukemed news
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