UK researchers identify genetic roots to carpamazepine adverse effect in Europeans
Cambridge (UK) – UK researchers have a found the genetic roots for adverse effects, ranging from mild skin irritations to severe blistering of the whole body, of the common epilepsy drug carbamazepine (N Engl J Med 2011; 364:1134-1143). Screening more than a million variants in DNA across the human genome to understand why some patients are more prone to the drug's side-effects, the team from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute identified a gene, called HLA-A*3101. Caucasian patients, the gene increased the risk of developing a reaction to carbamazepine from 5% to 26%. Researchers are now working with clinicians and drug regulators to investigate how these new findings can translate into clinical practice. In Asian patients the gene is responsible for the same effect.