August is Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Awareness Month
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is a rare, but serious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes, and is one of the most debilitating and severe adverse drug reactions to medications recognized. Although SJS affects people of all ages, the majority are children. It is a potentially life-threatening skin disease and complications can include lung damage, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), permanent blindness, scarring of mucous membranes, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Almost any medication, including over-the-counter drugs can cause SJS, but most commonly involved drugs are sulfa antibiotics (Bactrim, Septra), anti-gout medications (Aloprim, Zyloprim), pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and naproxen sodium (Aleve), medications to fight infection (i.e. penicillin), and medications to treat seizures (anticonvulsants) or mental illness (antipsychotics). The medications most likely to cause problems in children are the sulfa antiobiotics, Tylenol, and drugs that treat seizures, especially carbamazepine.
Infections can also trigger SJS, and include herpes, pneumonia, HIV, and hepatitis. This happens more with children then adults.
You are more likely to get Stevens-Johnson Syndrome if you have immune system problems, certain inherited genes, radiation treatments, or if you have had SJS before.
The primary symptoms of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome include facial/tongue swelling, hives, skin pain, shedding of the skin, a red or purple rash, and blisters on your skin and the mucous membranes of your mouth, nose, eyes, and genitals. However, it begins with flu-like symptoms and you may experience fever, sore mouth and throat, fatigue, cough, and burning eyes several days before the rash develops.
Recognizing the early symptoms of SJS and prompt medical attention are the most invaluable tools in the minimizing of possible long-term effects SJS may have on its victims.
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is a medical crisis that usually requires hospitalization, with treatment focusing on removing the underlying cause, relieving the symptoms, preventing infections, and minimizing complications. Getting treated right away helps protect the skin and other organs from permanent damage. Recovery can take weeks to months, depending on the severity of the condition. If the condition was caused by a medication, the medication needs to be permanently avoided.
The correlation between Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and drugs has seen an increase in the number of people filing lawsuits against various pharmaceutical companies. The drug litigation experts at The Madeksho Law Firm are well informed about the disease itself and the kind of suffering that it can cause, and will take on the pharmaceutical industry on your behalf. If you or any member of your family has suffered from Stevens-Johnson Syndrome it is important to seek legal help as you could be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering.