Stevens-Johnson syndrome and the related disease toxic epidermal necrolysis are life-threatening reactions of the skin to particular types of medication. Here we show that there is a strong association in Han Chinese between a genetic marker, the human leukocyte antigen HLA-B*1502, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome induced by carbamazepine, a drug commonly prescribed for the treatment of seizures. It should be possible to exploit this association in a highly reliable test to predict severe adverse reaction, as well as for investigation of the pathogenesis of Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
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