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Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysys

It seems as if an act as common as taking over-the-counter medicines, or even drugs prescribed by your own physician, should be perfectly safe.  And it usually is.  But sometimes, the body reacts in an unhealthy manner, and people become gravely ill through no fault of their own.  This is the case with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a serious and rare health condition which causes mucous membranes and skin to react adversely and severely to medication or infection.  This potentially deadly skin disease usually results from a drug reaction.  Drug manufacturers are responsible for making medicine that is safe for you and your family.  Big pharmaceutical firms must be held accountable when they choose to make their own profits more important that the consumers’ health.

Typically, SJS starts with flu-like symptoms followed by a painful purplish or reddish rash which spreads and blisters.  Eventually, the top layer of skin dies and falls off.  Recovery may take weeks to months, depending on how severe the condition is.  Several days before a reddish or purplish rash develops, patients may develop a fever, sore throat, cough or burning eyes.  Next, the following symptoms of SJS occur:

  • tongue swelling
  • facial swelling
  • hives
  • skin pain
  • a reddish or purplish rash that spreads within hours or days
  • shedding of the affected skin

If you have any of the following symptoms, get medical attention as quickly as possible:

  • unexplained skin pain over a large portion of your body
  • facial or tongue swelling — swelling of your tongue can
  • blisters on your skin and mucous membranes — eyes, nose, mouth, anus and genitals
  • hives
  • rash that spreads quickly

The causes of SJS can not always be easily identified.  This painful condition can also be caused by a bacterial infection.  Another form of the disease is Toxic Epidermal Necrolysys, which also results from a drug-related reaction.  A trained physician is needed to diagnose the cause and provide a treatment plan.  Early treatment can make a big difference in the seriousness of the disease, as it may stop any secondary infection.  Since SJS is a serious problem, it usually requires hospitalization.  SJS has been associated with:

  • anti-gout medications such as allopurinol
  • NSAIDS or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as over-the-counter aspirin, ibuprofren and naproxen
  • Allopurinol
  • Phenytoin
  • Carbamazepine
  • barbiturates
  • anticonvulsants
  • sulfa antibiotics

If you or a loved one has taken any of these medications and you feel you might have SJS or TENs, contact your physician immediately.  And if you have suffered severe permanent injuries such as blindness, contact the pharmaceutical lawyers at Carr & Carr Attorneys.  A personal injury attorney — someone who has experience helping others wrongly injured by medication — can help you decide what your next step should be.  Whether you live near Oklahoma City, TulsaNorthwest Arkansas or anywhere in the U.S., the professionals at Carr & Carr are available to help you.

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