Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Can Be Fatal

Have you ever heard of Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS)? Likely not since it is a relatively rare disorder. The skin disease, which can progress rapidly into Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN), can be fatal if you don’t catch it right away. Knowing what to look for is important to catching it in the early stages.

Symptoms of SJS

SJS is hard to catch at the very beginning since the symptoms very closely resemble that of the common cold or flu. The victim will experience a dry throat with coughing, and a persistent fever. However, this won’t go away after a few days. Instead it will get worse, and the face begins to swell. A red or purple rash spreads across the body within a few hours, and the skin blisters.

As the disorder progresses the patient is left in extreme pain. The blisters begin to shed, and skin falls off. Now you may be thinking this is like a sun burn. But it is much worse. Those being treated for SJS often end up in burn units at the hospital since it is as though they have 3rd degree burns… across 70% of their body. The blistering and shedding skin occurs even inside their mouth and around their eyes.

If the cause of the SJS is not found and eliminated, it progresses to TEN. This advanced stage of SJS sees the skin slough off in sheets. Those suffering are hospitalized for weeks at a time, and the end result for 80% of those suffering is death.

Now this is not all to scare you since only about 1 in 1 million people get this disease naturally. The majority of those who suffer do so because of a prescription drug that they take.

Causes of SJS

The drug Topamax, a popular drug used to treat frequent migraines, and Onfi, a drug used to reduce epileptic seizures, greatly increase the risk of suffering from SJS. These two drugs, which have been on the market in the US for a number of years, only recently started carrying warning labels regarding their potentially fatal side effects.

If you have used one of them, and you (or a loved one) have suffered from SJS or TEN, contact a dangerous drug attorney right away to see what your options are.