Asians more likely to be severely allergic to anticonvulsants

A study conducted by the Department of Dermatology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan, has found that Asians are more susceptible to severe reactions to mainstream anti-epileptic drugs than Caucasians.

The study was conducted from 2003-2009 and gathered information from 154 antiepileptic drug allergy cases. The reactions included skin ulcers, liver inflammation and death. Carbamazepine (CMZ) is prescribed to patients after brain surgery to prevent brain seizures, and in the US only 2 out of every 100,000 patients prescribed CMZ suffers an allergic reaction. However in Taiwan, 59 out of every 100,000 patients prescribed CMZ suffers a reaction. Similar figures were seen in other Asian populations of Philippines and Malaysia, where 40 to 50 of every 100,000 people prescribed the drugs develop an allergic reaction.

The researchers from Taipei have noted that the differences in the physiques of Asians and Caucasians are the main cause of the differences in statistics. Doctors recommend that the government issue allergy cards to prevent CMZ or other anti-epileptic drugs being prescribed to those people more likely to be allergic to them.

Source: Neurology

First published in December 2011


More research reports on allergies to drugs



Top of page