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Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) is a serious but rare disorder in which your skin and mucous membranes react severely to a medication or infection. This disorder typically begins with flu-like symptoms, followed by a painful red or purplish rash that spreads throughout your body. Blisters ultimately form, causing the top layer of your skin to die and shed.
At Polewski & Associates, we provide our clients with highly personalized attention and the services of a board-certified personal injury trial lawyer. Your case will also be reviewed by experts such as a licensed medical doctor for the strongest case possible.
Medications That Cause SJS
The drugs most commonly associated with SJS are Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (Advil), certain anticonvulsants and diuretics, and a variety of antibiotics including amoxicillin, tetracycline and doxycycline. Among children, ibuprofen-based medicines like Children’s Motrin have also been proven to cause SJS.
Symptoms of SJS
The symptoms of SJS begin with flu-like symptoms such as a fever, headache and body aches. A rash then breaks out on your face and torso, and blisters commonly form in or around the nose, ears, mouth and genitals.
Other symptoms include:
- Swelling of your eyelids or tongue
- Red eyes and conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Skin pain and shedding of your affected skin
Any medication suspected of contributing to this condition should be immediately discontinued to prevent the more severe condition, toxic epidermal necrolysis,
There is a similar blistering of mucous membranes in instances of toxic epidermal necrolysis, and in addition, the whole top layer of your skin (epidermis) will peel off in large sheets.
Dangers of Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis
The skin loss in toxic epidermal necrolysis is similar to a severe burn and is similarly life-threatening. Substantial amounts of fluid and salt can ooze from the damaged areas. A person with this condition is susceptible to organ failure and infection where tissue is exposed. Toxic epidermal necrolysis has a nearly 30% mortality rate.
Hospitalization and Treatment
SJS requires immediate medical attention and hospitalization and is treated in the burn unit with meticulous care to prevent infection. Some doctors will use corticosteroids in the first few days, though this treatment is controversial. Fluids and salts that have been lost through your damaged skin are replenished intravenously. Your skin should grow back with time, though recovery can take months.
A product liability lawsuit may be brought against the manufacturer of the medication that caused your SJS. If you live in the Dallas, Texas area, please contact our law firm today by calling 972.230.6200 to schedule a consultation with a qualified medical malpractice attorney at Polewski & Associates.