Drug-Induced Hypersensitivity Syndrome Quiz

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Learn more about Drug-induced hypersensitivity syndrome

Content updated on Sep 20, 2022

What is drug-induced hypersensitivity syndrome?

Drug-induced hypersensitivity syndrome, also called drug rash with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS), is a severe reaction to a drug characterized by fever, rash and multiorgan failure. It can occur anytime between 1-8 weeks after drug introduction. Drugs that most commonly cause DRESS include certain anti-seizures such as carbamazepine, phenytoin and phenobarbital, as well as allopurinol which is used for gout.

Symptoms of drug-induced hypersensitivity syndrome

  • Fever

  • Fatigue

  • Taking medication for seizures or epilepsy

  • Skin over the entire body is red

  • Swollen lymph nodes, usually small swellings at the neck, armpits, groin and behind the ears

  • Skin problem on the chest, tummy or back

  • Skin rashes with tiny bumps

  • Rashes or fever, 2 to 6 weeks after starting a new medication

Questions your doctor may ask to check for drug-induced hypersensitivity syndrome

Your doctor may ask these questions to diagnose drug-induced hypersensitivity syndrome

  • Do you have a fever?

  • Do you feel fatigued?

  • Are you currently taking medicine to prevent seizures?

  • Do you have skin redness over the whole body?

  • Do you feel your lymph nodes are swollen and enlarged?

Treatment for drug-induced hypersensitivity syndrome

Treatment includes immediate withdrawal of the causative drug followed by careful monitoring and supportive care. In severe cases, systemic corticosteroids to suppress inflammation may be prescribed by the doctor.

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