Drug-induced immune hemolytic anemia (DIIHA) is rare; it can be mild or associated with acute severe hemolytic anemia (HA) and death. About 125 drugs have been implicated as the cause. The HA can be caused by drug-independent antibodies that are indistinguishable, in vitro and in vivo, from autoantibodies causing idiopathic warm type autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA). More commonly, the antibodies are drug-dependent (i.e., will only react in vitro in the presence of the drug). The most common drugs to cause DIIHA are anti-microbials (e.g., cefotetan, ceftriaxone and piperacillin), which are associated with drug-dependent antibodies. The most common drug to cause AIHA is fludarabine. Finding out which drug is causing the problem and stopping that drug is the first approach to therapy. It is not easy to identify the drug interactions accurately in vitro; laboratories specializing in this area can be of great help.
Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.