Toward solving the mystery of idiosyncratic drug reactions

Jan 07, 2008

A mysterious and unpredictable group of side effects from modern medications called idiosyncratic drug reactions (IDRs) likely will persist as a major health care problem unless there is a dramatic increase in research funding, according to a 20-year review of research in the field scheduled for the January issue of ACS’ Chemical Research in Toxicology.

The review, by Jack Uetrecht, defines IDRs as reactions that happen unexpectedly and with no obvious connection to the known effects of a medication’s ingredients or dosage.

Although relatively rare, IDRs make an important contribution to the annual burden of death, illness, and increased health care costs from serious adverse drug reactions. In addition, serious IDRs that appear after a new drug has gone into wide use can force drug companies to withdraw products after R&D investments totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

Two decades of research have produced significant progress, the report acknowledges. However, medical science still has only a “superficial” understanding of how and why IDRs occur and a growing recognition that the mechanisms behind IDRs may be as complicated as those involved in cancer or diabetes. The review describes a need for increased research funding, with more scientists focusing on IDRs, in order to achieve faster progress.

Source: ACS

Explore further: Marine biologists clarify how specialized cells in squid skin are able to control the animal's coloration

Related Stories

Recommended for you

What makes fireflies glow?

17 hours ago

As fireflies are delighting children across the country with their nighttime displays, scientists are closing in on a better understanding of how the insects produce their enchanting glow. They report in ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.