Predominant in children, particularly females, Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a severe, life-threatening skin condition that typically arises as a result of an allergic reaction to medication (though, in some cases, the precise cause is unknown). SJS causes the mucous membranes in the skin, eyes, mouth, genitals, respiratory tract, and other areas of the body to become seriously inflamed, and about 15 percent of SJS cases end in fatality. One of the primary reasons that Stevens-Johnson syndrome has such a grim prognosis is that it is a rare disease that is often misdiagnosed.
Symptoms of SJS
Should a medication be responsible for causing a child’s case of Stevens-Johnson syndrome, within two weeks of starting a course of the given drug, a child will start to develop some combination of the following side effects:
- blisters and skin rashes (blisters typically affect the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and genitals),
- flu-like symptoms,
- inflammation of the eyelids and/or red eyes,
- upper respiratory tract infections,
- and unwavering fever.
When SJS symptoms affect between 15 and 30 percent of body, the condition is referred to as toxic epidermal necrosis syndrome (TENS), and the prognosis becomes far more severe, with a 30 to 40 percent mortality rate.
Medications Known to Cause Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
Some of the medications that have been linked to SJS include:
- antibiotics, including penicillins, ciprofloxacin, and tetracycline;
- diuretics, such as furosemide;
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen and ibuprofen;
- and seizure medications, such as phenobarbital and carbamazepine.
Once a proper diagnosis has established the presence of Stevens-Johnson syndrome in a child, he or she will be immediately admitted to a burn unit or an intensive care unit for prompt and aggressive treatment. It typically takes a combination of a dermatologist and an ophthalmologist to effectively treat SJS. Along with administering pain medications, physicians will give patients a strong course of antibiotic medication (known not to cause SJS) to try to combat the condition.
Those who have been diagnosed with SJS, or who have a child who has been diagnosed with the disease, and who suspect the condition was caused by a medication can learn more about their legal rights by attending a complimentary initial consult with a skilled defective drug lawyer. Call Chaffin Luhana LLP at 1-888-480-1123 for a free and confidential case review today.