What is Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis?
Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis is the most severe form of Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a life-threatening disease that causes the skin to peel in sheets, leaving large, raw areas exposed. This loss of skin allows fluids and salts to ooze from the raw, damaged areas. These areas can easily become infected. TEN has an extremely high mortality rate, killing up to 50% of people who contract the disease.
What Causes TEN?
In most cases, experts think that certain medications trigger Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis. These medications may include:
- Children’s Advil
- Children’s Tylenol
- Children’s Motrin
- Antimalarial drugs
- And more
Who is Most at Risk?
People with immune system disorders like HIV and lupus are more likely to develop Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis. Genetics may also play a role.
Some people are unable to metabolize certain medications, which can cause their bodies to develop TEN. Gene mutations may make certain individuals (or ethnic groups) more likely to react poorly to particular drugs.
People of any age can get Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis; however, it’s more common in people aged 50 to 70.
Related Article: Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Lawsuit Update
Symptoms of Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis may develop a few weeks after you start taking a medication and include:
- 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.
Examples of Patients Who Developed TEN After Taking Medications
- In 2000, a 3-year-old girl took Children’s Motrin and Tylenol for a fever. She developed symptoms of Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis including burns and blisters on her body that caused blindness in 1 eye within days of taking the medications. The girl continues to suffer from long-term complications of TEN. A Johnson & Johnson subsidiary was later ordered to pay $10 million for the girl's injuries and for failing to include a warning about TEN on the product's labeling.
- In 2013, a jury ordered the same company to pay $63 million to Samantha Reckis, who, a decade earlier, developed TEN after taking Motrin. The condition caused burns on portions of her skin and left her blind.
Other cases of Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis may also be caused by the negligence of medical professionals who do not recognize the symptoms of the condition, or fail to treat it properly. People have filed successful lawsuits against physicians and hospitals for failing to identify TEN or providing a misdiagnosis of the disease.
How is it Diagnosed?
Your doctor will usually diagnose Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis after evaluating your symptoms. In some cases, you may need a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. A pathologist studies a sample of your skin under a microscope. If you do have TEN, the biopsy will show necrotic (dead) skin cells and detachment of the first layer of skin (epidermis) from the second layer.
Management of TEN requires prompt recognition of the disease and withdrawal of all potentially causative medications. The main course of treatment includes supportive care until the epithelium regenerates.
Supportive measures include isolation, fluid and electrolyte balance, nutritional support, pain management, and protective dressings. Early transfer of patients to a burn or intensive care unit (ICU) may reduce the risk of infection, mortality rate, and duration of hospital stay.
The offending medication should be discontinued immediately.
Liability in TEN Lawsuits
Individuals may have grounds to file a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies for failing to adequately warn about the risk of developing Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis from their medications. Although drug labels may contain generic risk warnings, many do not specifically alert consumers that they can develop TEN from using the drug. Plaintiffs may also file medical malpractice lawsuits against healthcare professionals and hospitals for failing to properly diagnose or treat TEN.
See all related dangerous drug lawsuits our attorneys covered so far.
Get a Free Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis 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 Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis 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 Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) or Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), 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.