Characteristics of liver injury in drug-induced systemic hypersensitivity reactions

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Abstract

Background:

The liver is the most commonly involved internal organ in drug-induced systemic hypersensitivity. However, data obtained from these patients have yet to be analyzed in depth with respect to liver injury.

Methods:

The medical records of 136 patients who developed delayed-type drug hypersensitivity were reviewed at a tertiary referral hospital. Culprit drugs, the pattern and degree of liver injury, and the effect of systemic corticosteroids were evaluated in the group of patients with drug-induced systemic hypersensitivity and liver dysfunction (aspartate aminotransferase or alanine aminotransferase ≥80 IU/L). Clinical characteristics of patients with drug-induced systemic hypersensitivity and liver injury were analyzed.

Results:

Among the 61 patients with drug-induced systemic hypersensitivity and liver dysfunction, the clinical phenotypes were drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (n = 29, 48%), Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis (n = 11, 18%), and maculopapular rash (n = 17, 28%). Antibiotics (n = 27, 44%) were the most common cause of drug-induced systemic hypersensitivity with liver dysfunction. Whereas patients with Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis had mild hepatocellular-type liver injury of relatively brief duration, those with drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms/drug-induced hypersensitivity syndrome had more severe and prolonged hepatocellular injury in addition to moderate to severe cholestatic-type liver injury. The use of systemic corticosteroids did not significantly affect either recovery from liver injury or mortality.

Limitations:

This study was retrospective and the number of subjects was small.

Conclusion:

The results suggest that the severity, pattern, and duration of liver injury differ according to the drug-hypersensitivity phenotype. Further studies are needed to evaluate the role of systemic corticosteroids in drug-induced systemic hypersensitivity and liver injury.

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