Thursday, March 24, 2011

Scientific teams find genetic link to epilepsy drug reaction
DICK AHLSTROM, Science Editor

IRISH AND British scientists have found a way to warn if a patient will react badly to a medicine used in the treatment of epilepsy. In rare cases the drug can cause severe breakdown of the skin and even death.

The research involved teams at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the University of Liverpool. They studied the genes of patients who reacted badly to the drug and identified a single gene that is a “biomarker” for those likely to experience drug side-effects.

“It is a test that identifies people who are at high risk of having a nasty reaction to a particular drug used in the treatment of epilepsy,” said Dr Gianpiero Cavalleri who headed the Irish group and jointly led the research with Liverpool.

“Carbamazepine is one of the most commonly used epilepsy drugs worldwide,” he said. Even so, about one in 20 patients will react negatively to the drug. Some will develop a rash that will stop if the drug is withdrawn.

Read the rest of the article here.

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