Health Questions and Answers

Question: What antibody is often touted to be diagnostic for drug-induced lupus?

Answer:

Although often touted to be diagnostic for drug-induced lupus, an antihistone antibody is not particularly helpful when a patient taking one of the above medications has features of lupus and a positive ANA. Although antihistone antibody is present in the syndrome of drug-induced lupus (perhaps as many as 90% of cases), it is also true that nearly 75% of patients with idiopathic disease may produce this antibody, making it of little diagnostic usefulness. 

Reference: Harris ED, Budd RC, Firestein GS, et al (eds): Kelley’s Textbook of Rheumatology, 7th ed. Philadelphia, W.B. Saunders, 2005

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