Predicting and diagnosing abacavir and nevirapine drug hypersensitivity: from bedside to bench and back again

Annalise Martin, David Nolan, Coral-Ann Almeida, Andri Rauch, Simon Mallal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


There is a growing discussion surrounding the issue of personalized approaches to drug prescription based on an individual's genetic makeup. This field of investigation has focused primarily on identifying genetic factors that influence drug metabolism and cellular disposition, thereby contributing to dose-dependent toxicities and/or variable drug efficacy. However, pharmacogenetic approaches have also proved valuable in predicting drug hypersensitivity reactions in selected patient populations, including HIV-infected patients receiving long-term antiretroviral therapy. In this instance, susceptibility has been strongly linked to genetic loci involved in antigen recognition and presentation to the immune system--most notably within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region--consistent with the notion that hypersensitivity reactions represent drug-specific immune responses that are largely dose independent. Here the authors describe their experiences with the development of pharmacogenetic approaches to hypersensitivity reactions associated with abacavir and nevirapine, two commonly prescribed antiretroviral drugs. It is demonstrated that prospective screening tests to identify and exclude individuals with a certain genetic makeup may be largely successful in decreasing or eliminating incidence of these adverse drug reactions in certain populations. This review also explores the broader implications of these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


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