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Basophil activation tests in the evaluation of immediate drug hypersensitivity

Sanz, María L; Gamboa, Pedro M; Mayorga, Cristobalina

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: August 2009 - Volume 9 - Issue 4 - p 298–304
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e32832d5311
Drug allergy: Edited by Bernard Thong and Miguel Blanca

Purpose of review The aim of this study was to confirm the applicability of the basophil activation test (BAT) in the in-vitro diagnosis of drug allergy reactions.

Recent findings The results obtained in terms of sensitivity and specificity with BAT are encouraging and in significant number of cases can establish the diagnosis.

Summary BAT sensitivity in beta-lactam allergy was 50%, and specificity ranged from 89 to 97%. There are several studies to validate the BAT in allergy to muscle relaxants showing a sensitivity ranging from 54 to 64% with a specificity of 100 and 93%. The sensitivity of a test for evaluating immediate allergic reactions to drugs may decrease over time. To date, the BAT is the only in-vitro diagnostic method that has been validated for the diagnosis of both IgE-mediated and hypersensitivity reactions to NSAIDs. With respect to other drugs, they are nonetheless interesting as they include the evaluation of allergy to drugs that cannot be studied by other in-vitro techniques. All these data suggest that although a full validation of the test is required, BAT is a potential diagnostic method for evaluating immediate allergic reactions to drugs and NSAID hypersensitivity reactions.

aDepartment of Allergology and Clinical Immunology, University Clinic of Navarra, School of Medicine, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain

bServicio de Alergia, Hospital Basurto, Bilbao, Spain

cUnidad de Investigación, Hospital Carlos Haya, Málaga, Spain

Correspondence to Professor María L. Sanz, MD, PhD, Departamento de Alergología e Inmunología Clínica, Clínica Universitaria de Navarra, Universidad de Navarra, Apartado 4209, 31080 Pamplona, Spain Tel: +34 948 255400; fax: +34 948 296500; e-mail:

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