Table Of Contents
- What is Stevens-Johnson Syndrome?
- How Common is SJS?
- Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Symptoms
- What Medications Cause Stevens-Johnson Syndrome?
- SJS Prognosis (Outlook)
- What is Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN)?
- Is SJS the Same as TEN?
- Other Causes of SJS/TEN
- Who is Most Likely to Get SJS/TEN?
- Get a Free Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
What is Stevens-Johnson Syndrome?
Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a severe reaction that causes skin tissue to die (necrosis) and detach. The mucous membranes of the eyes, mouth, and/or genitals are also commonly affected by the condition. SJS is a medical emergency that can be life-threatening.
The first symptoms of Stevens-Johnson syndrome typically include fever and flu-like symptoms. Within 1 to 3 days, a red or purplish rash forms, and then the skin begins to blister and peel, leading to painful “raw” areas of skin. The condition usually starts on the face and then spreads to other areas of the body.
The mucous membranes may also be affected by SJS, which can lead to severe conjunctivitis, trouble swallowing and breathing, difficulty urinating, and genital pain.
How Common is SJS?
Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a rare disease that affects about 2 million adults each year in the U.S. However, the mortality rate of SJS is extremely high (30% of cases).
People with HIV and those with chronic inflammatory diseases like lupus are more likely to develop Stevens-Johnson syndrome than the general population. The reason for this increased risk is unclear, but a compromised immune system and exposure to multiple prescription drugs may have an effect.
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Symptoms
- Flu-like symptoms
- High temperature
- Sore throat
- Joint pain
- The rash usually starts on the upper body before quickly spreading to the face, arms, legs, and other areas of the body, such as the genitals.
What Medications Cause Stevens-Johnson Syndrome?
Although the use of any drug can potentially lead to SJS, the medicines most commonly associated with the condition include:
- Children’s Advil
- Children’s Tylenol
- Children’s Motrin
- Antimalarial drugs
- And more
The goal of treatment for Stevens-Johnson syndrome is to relieve the symptoms and maintain good breathing and hydration levels. In some cases, treatment in an intensive care unit (ICU) may be required, especially if breathing support is needed. Hydration may need to be required using IV fluids.
The sore areas of skin on patients with SJS will be covered with a non-stick dressing to protect them while they heal. Pain relief will also be administered, and mouthwash may also be used. The eyes will be treated with lubricant to stop the surface from drying out, as well as topical steroids and antibiotics to prevent any inflammation and infection.
Each skin lesion usually takes 1 to 2 weeks to heal; however, new sore areas may develop for several weeks after the condition first presents.
SJS Prognosis (Outlook)
Among patients who survive Stevens-Johnson syndrome, long-term effects of the condition may include:
- Changes in skin coloring (pigmentation)
- Dryness of the skin and mucous membranes (xerosis)
- Excess sweating (hyperhidrosis)
- Hair loss (alopecia)
- Abnormal growth or loss of the fingernails and toenails
- Impaired taste
- Difficulty urinating
- Genital abnormalities
A small percentage of people with SJS may also develop chronic dryness or inflammation of the eyes, which can lead to increased sensitivity to light (photophobia) and vision impairment.
What is Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN)?
Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis is a more severe form of Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Like SJS, TEN is typically caused by an immune reaction to medications. Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis is characterized by keratinocyte necrosis with separation of the epidermis from the underlying dermis.
Is SJS the Same as TEN?
Stevens-Johnson syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis were previously thought to be separate conditions, but are now considered to be part of the same disease spectrum. SJS is at the less severe end of the spectrum, while TEN is much more severe. It is considered SJS when skin detachment involves less than 10% of the body surface and TEN when skin detachment involves more than 30% of the body surface. People with skin detachment involving 10-30% of the body surface are said to have “SJS/TEN overlap.”
Other Causes of SJS/TEN
Although an allergic reaction to medications is by far the most common cause of SJS/TEN, the conditions may also be induced by infections, vaccines, or even idiopathic (spontaneously arising). Other potential etiologies include mycoplasma pneumonia, hepatitis A and human herpesvirus 7, hepatocellular carcinoma, lung cancer, and the meningococcal vaccine. SJS/TEN has also recently been reported in COVID-19 patients, due to either the viral infection or the drugs used to treat the virus.
Who is Most Likely to Get SJS/TEN?
Studies have found that Asian and black patients are most likely to be diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome and/or Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis. Some studies have even reported a 2-fold risk increase in these populations.
There is also a clear female sex predilection to the diagnosis of SJS/TEN, with a female-to-male ratio of 1.5 to 1. Most people develop these conditions between the ages of 50 to 70. However, SJS/TEN can affect any age group. In most cases, adult diagnoses of Stevens-Johnson syndrome and/or Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis are drug-induced, while infections are the main cause in children.
- Allopurinol Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Lawsuit
- Bextra Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Case
- Children’s Tylenol Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
See all related dangerous drug lawsuits our attorneys covered so far.
Get a Free Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Lawsuit Evaluation With Our Lawyers
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Stevens-Johnson Syndrome lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently investigating potential settlements in all 50 states.
Again, if you or a loved one was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) or Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN), you should contact our law firm immediately for a free case review. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit for legal fees and our defective drug lawyers can help with a free case evaluation.