Stevens-Johnson Syndrome

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is a severe illness associated with fever and skin problems including rash, blisters, and ulcers. Although it can affect skin all over the body, a trademark of SJS are problems of the skin inside the mouth, nose, and eyes.

  • Causes

    SJS is caused by an overreaction of the immune system to certain medications. It is not certain what causes the overreaction but it may be linked to genetic factors.

  • Definition

    Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is a severe illness associated with fever and skin problems including rash, blisters, and ulcers. Although it can affect skin all over the body, a trademark of SJS are problems of the skin inside the mouth, nose, and eyes.

    Blisters
    IMAGE
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  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. This will often result in a diagnosis.

    A sample of skin may be tested. This can be done with a biopsy.

  • Prevention

    To help reduce your chance of getting SJS, avoid taking the medications that cause SJS to occur.

  • Risk Factors

    Medications that are most often associated with SJS include:

    • Sulfonamides
    • Aminopenicillins
    • Quinolones
    • Cephalosporins
    • Tetracyclines
    • Imidazole antifungals
    • Aromatic anticonvulsants

    Other factors that may increase your risk of SJS include:

    • Diseases that decrease your immunity like HIV and systemic lupus erythematosus
    • Certain genes
    • Radiation therapy and taking anti-seizure medication to treat a brain tumor
    • Certain infections such as
      • Herpes
      • Influenza
      • Diphtheria
      • Typhoid
      • Hepatitis

  • Symptoms

    SJS symptoms progress over time. Early symptoms may include:

    • Fever
    • Sore throat
    • Cough
    • Burning eyes

    After several days, the following symptoms may occur:

    • A red or purple rash that spreads
    • Swelling of the face and tongue
    • Skin pain
    • Blisters on the skin and the skin inside the mouth, nose, and eyes
    • Shedding of the skin

  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. You may be referred to a specialist for treatment depending on your symptoms.

    Treatment options include: