European Journal of Rheumatology
Literature Review

Carbamazepine-induced systemic lupus erythematosus: A case-based review


Division of Rheumatology, Hospital Universitario de Burgos, Burgos, Spain


Division of Neurology, Hospital Universitario de Burgos, Burgos, Spain

Eur J Rheumatol 2019; 6: 48-54
DOI: 10.5152/eurjrheum.2018.18046
Read: 2565 Downloads: 1145 Published: 03 September 2019



A case of carbamazepine-induced systemic lupus erythematosus (CBZ-DILE) is presented, along with a literature review, with the aim to define the clinical and serological characteristics of this group, and compare them with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) triggered by other drugs (DILE). A 31-year-old woman presented with a 6-month history of hand arthritis and nasal ulcers. She had been diagnosed with epilepsy at 12 years of age and had continued treatment with carbamazepine (CBZ) for the past 18 years with excellent clinical control. Laboratory data revealed antinuclear antibodies (ANA) positive to a titer of 1/1280, and positive anti-nucleosome antibodies. The patients’ clinical symptoms disappeared after the CBZ discontinuation and did not reappear during the 1-year follow-up period. A search was made in the PubMed/Medline database of the (CBZ-DILE) published cases. A total of 26 cases of CBZ-DILE were found in the search. CBZ-DILE cases are characterized by variable latency periods that often last for years and are not related to the dose of CBZ. Most frequent clinical findings of CBZ-DILE in patients are arthralgia/arthritis, mucocutaneous manifestations, constitutional symptoms, and pleuritis or pericarditis. The renal involvement has not been reported in CBZ-DILE. Antihistone antibodies were observed less frequently, and anti-dsDNA antibodies were observed more frequently than in the “classic” DILE. The ANA remained positive in over 60% of cases during the follow-up after withdrawal. The CBZ-DILE has significant clinical and laboratory manifestations that distinguish it from classic DILE or idiopathic SLE.


Cite this article as: Álvarez-Lario B, Bártulos-Iglesias, Colazo-Burlato M, Macarrón-Vicente J. Carbamazepine-induced systemic lupus erythematosus: A case-based review. Eur J Rheumatol 2019; 6(1): 46-51.

EISSN 2148-4279