Taiwanese Doctors Show Gene Screening Prevents Drug Reactions
Health & Medicine
March 29, 2011
Taiwanese researchers have used genetic screening to prevent two potentially fatal drug-induced syndromes.
AsianScientist (Mar. 29, 2011) – Scientists from the Institute of Biomedical Sciences (IBMS), Academia Sinica, and more than 100 physicians from 23 hospitals around Taiwan have demonstrated the clinical effectiveness of genetic screening in preventing two potentially fatal drug-induced syndromes: Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN).
In Southeast Asian countries, SJS and TEN are severe drug reactions most commonly caused by the drug carbamazepine, a popular anticonvulsant and specific analgesic used for the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia.
In a 2004 Nature article, the IBMS and Chang-Gung Hospital team reported that carbamazepine-induced SJS/TEN is strongly associated with a specific genotype (namely HLA-B*1502) in Han Chinese.
In a recent New England Journal of Medicine publication, the IBMS team, led by Dr. Chen-Yang Shen Dr. Yuan-Tsong Chen, and Dr. Pei Chen, carried out a large prospective study on 5,000 patients in Taiwan hospitals.
The doctors screened patients for HLA-B*1502 before prescribing carbamazepine. Those who tested positive for HLA-B*1502 (7.7 percent) were advised not to take carbamazepine, and were given an alternative medication or advised to continue taking their prestudy medication. Patients who tested negative (92.3 percent) were advised to take carbamazepine.
By identifying and excluding patients carrying the HLA-B*1502 allele, the incidence of carbamazepine-induced SJS/TEN cases could be decreased, the study found.
The article can be found at Chen P. et al. (2011) Carbamazepine-Induced Toxic Effects and HLA-B*1502 Screening in Taiwan.
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