Drug allergies are heterogeneous and multifactorial diseases and are always the consequence of an exaggerated immune-mediated reaction. Previously described models of immunologic mechanisms (mainly based on Gell and Combs classification) cannot fully explain the physiopathology of these diseases; it seems therefore important to identify risk factors. Clinical and biologic tests are helpful diagnostic tools but are limited in their sensitivity and reliability and are certainly not predictive. Epidemiologic data supply information concerning the prevalence of drug hypersensitivity: female gender, concomitant infections (HIV, herpes) and concurrent illnesses (systemic lupus erythematosus) are all significant risk factors. Another host-related factor is the genetic predisposition of patients and is currently under investigation in our laboratory. Most genetic studies concern HLA haplotype association or polymorphism in genes encoding drugmetabolising enzymes. A current study by our group seems to implicate polymorphisms within the promoter of IL-10, a cytokine with anti-inflammatory properties. The chemical properties of the drug and the treatment regimen also influence the development of drug allergies.
Keywords: Drug allergies, risk factors, β-lactam allergy, SNP