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Curr Pharm Des. 2019;25(36):3829-3839. doi: 10.2174/1381612825666191107105440.

Early Biomarkers for Severe Drug Hypersensitivity Reactions.

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Allergy Research Group, Instituto de Investigacion Biomedica de Malaga-IBIMA, Malaga, Spain.
Allergy Unit, Hospital Regional Universitario de Málaga, Málaga, Spain.
Nanostructures for Diagnosing and Treatment of Allergic Diseases Laboratory, Andalusian Center for Nanomedicine and Biotechnology-BIONAND, Málaga, Spain.
Immunology and Allergy Unit, IMIBICHospital Universitario Reina Sofía, Córdoba, Spain.
ARADyAL network, Health Institute Carlos III, Madrid, Spain.


Drug hypersensitivity reactions (DHRs) are typically classified into immediate and delayed reactions based on the time interval between drug exposure and onset of symptoms. Clinical manifestations range from mild to severe and life-threatening reactions. The most severe clinical entities are anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock for immediate reactions, and severe cutaneous adverse reactions such as Steven Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis for delayed reactions. The diagnosis is complex and challenging, as drug provocation tests and even skin tests can be very risky procedures, which makes them not recommended. Therefore, it is necessary to search for useful early biomarkers to manage the diagnosis of these reactions. These biomarkers could be useful to determine the clinical entity, but not to identify the culprit drug. Some of the currently available biomarkers are few genetic associations of drug allergy with polymorphisms of human leukocyte antigen (HLA), the detection of inflammatory and lipid mediators in serum, or the detection of cytokines, chemokines, and cytotoxic markers in skin biopsies. In this literature review, it has been summarize the immunological mechanisms involved in severe reactions, both immediate and delayed, and different early biomarkers: those currently used for the diagnosis of these reactions as well as possible early biomarkers that could be useful with further studies to standardize their clinical use.


Drug hypersensitivity reactions; anaphylaxis; biopsy biomarkers; early biomarkers; genetic biomarkers; immunological mechanisms; serum biomarkers; severe cutaneous allergic reactions.

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