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More than 7% of the General Population are Affected by Drug Allergy Reactions, Involving Excessive Cost for the Healthcare System

BERNE, Switzerland, April 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --



Drug Hypersensitivity Reactions (DHRs) affect 7% of the population[1] and represent a major health problem, as they can be life-threatening and require or prolong hospitalisation[2]. Both underdiagnosis (insufficiently detected) and overdiagnosis (excessive use of the term "allergy") are common in clinical practice, and can lead to the prescription of more expensive or less effective drugs.

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This information is found in the International Consensus (ICON) on Drug Allergy, presented in the 6th Drug Hypersensitivity Meeting, held this weekend in Berne, Switzerland, under the auspices of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI). It is the first document signed by four international bodies, united under International Collaboration in Asthma, Allergy and Immunology (iCAALL), which is reviewing and updating the principal scientific evidence about DHRs in order to provide tools with which to support medical decision-making and improve clinical practice in the management of drug allergy.

Experts have critically analysed existing guidelines, highlighting common key messages and discussing differences and lack of evidence. "The approach to DHRs is complex and must be precise, whatever the drug involved. This consensus was required to provide the medical community with a general reference document to improve the diagnosis and treatment of drug hypersensitivity reactions," points out Pascal Demoly, EAACI Vice President of Education and Specialty.

DHRs are the set of undesirable effects caused by drugs. Urticarial and maculopapular eruptions are the most frequent manifestation, although there are many more clinical presentations[1].

One of the most significant sessions was devoted to the increased risk of drug hypersensitivity associated with human leukocyte antigens (HLA). "The finding that certain severe drug allergies appear almost exclusively in carriers of certain HLA-alleles made it possible to apply personalized medicine to the safer use of drugs and to avoid severe side effects", explains Professor Werner J. Pichler, DHM 2014 chair and director of Allergology at the Universitiy Hospital in Berne, Switzerland.

REFERENCES 

  1. Gomes ER, Demoly P. Epidemiology of hypersensitivity drug reactions. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 2005;5:309-316.
  2. Demoly P, Adkinson NF, Brockow K, Castells M, Chiriac AM, Greenberger PA, Khan DA, Lang DM, Park H-S, Pichler W, Sanchez-Borges M, Shiohara T, Thong BY-H. International Consensus on drug allergy. Allergy2014;69:420-437.

 

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