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Summary Drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) describes a severe medication-induced adverse reaction, which has cutaneous, haematological and solid-organ features. It is one of the triad of life-threatening drug hypersensitivity dermatoses, along with acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP) and Stevens–Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis (SJS/TEN). In this article, we discuss several controversies that surround DRESS, including problems with nomenclature and the lack of consensus in diagnostic criteria.