Quantification of specific IgE antibodies in immediate drug hypersensitivity : more shortcomings than potentials?
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Amsterdam :Elsevier science bv
Clinica chimica acta. - Amsterdam
, p. 184-189
University of Antwerp
Background For many physicians, quantification of serum drug-specific IgE (sIgE) antibodies constitutes the first measure in the diagnostic approach of immediate drug hypersensitivity reactions (IDHR). Aim To review the accuracy and limitations of the main drug-sIgE tests, especially those that are commercially available. Methods A literature search was conducted, using the key-words allergy, diagnosis, drugs, hypersensitivity, specific IgE antibodies; this was complemented by the authors' own experience. Results The drugs that have mostly been studied appeared to be β-lactam antibiotics, neuromuscular blocking agents (NMBA) and morphine, the latter as a biomarker for sensitisation to substituted ammonium structures that constitute the major epitope of NMBA. For β-lactams sensitivity and specificity varied between 085% and 52100%, respectively. For NMBA, sensitivity and specificity varied between 38.592% and 92100%, respectively. With respect to sIgE to morphine it appears this drug to be a sensitive biomarker for sensitisation to rocuronium and suxamethonium but not for atracurium. However, sIgE morphine should not be applied in isolation to diagnose IDHR to NMBA nor opiates. Conclusions Although drug-sIgE assay can provide valuable information they should not be performed in isolation to establish correct diagnosis, as their predictive value is not per se absolute. Larger comprehensive studies are urgently required to determine the accuracy of drug-sIgE assays.