A study led by researchers at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) has identified a new genetic test that can be used to predict if a patient with epilepsy will develop an adverse reaction to a common anti-epileptic drug. The finding will help inform doctors to prescribe the safest and most beneficial treatment for patients with epilepsy.
The study, “Genetic variation in CFH predicts phenytoin-induced maculopapular exanthema in European-descent patients,” is published in the journal Neurology.
The research has identified a genetic factor that can be used to predict whether a patient with epilepsy will develop a rash in reaction to a common anti-epileptic drug called phenytoin. Phenytoin is used worldwide and is the most commonly prescribed anti-epileptic drug in developing countries.
Dr. Mark McCormack of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics, RCSI, and first author on the paper commented: ‘Our finding will make it easier for clinicians to predict a troublesome rash which occurs as an allergic reaction to the drug phenytoin. Adverse reactions can sometimes cause more harm to patients than seizures and patients may stop taking otherwise useful drugs as a result of the side-effects. Through genetic testing we can now estimate a patient’s risk prior to placing them on phenytoin.’
Professor Gianpiero Cavalleri, Associate Professor in Human Genetics at RCSI and the FutureNeuro SFI Research Centre, coordinated the study. ‘This work represents a step towards more holistic, personalized care of epilepsy by improving patient safety and targeting the right drug to the right patient,’ Professor Cavalleri said.