Product News and Recalls

How is Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Diagnosed?

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is a serious condition that requires emergency medical care and often hospitalization. The disorder usually develops as a reaction to certain types of medication. Specifically, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning last year regarding a link between Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and acetaminophen, which is a common pain reliever and fever reducer in both over-the-counter and prescription medications. Similar drugs ibuprofen and naproxen have also been associated with the syndrome.

Patients with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome tend to first develop flu-like symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, sore throat, and cough, which commonly leads to misdiagnoses. This can be especially harmful because flu sufferers are often prescribed medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever and aches, so patients sometimes receive additional doses of the medication that is causing a reaction.

Within days, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome sufferers will likely develop a painful purple or red rash that can escalate into large blisters. Blisters may develop on the top of the skin or on the mucous membranes of a person’s genitals, nose, mouth, or eyes. The disorder can cause a person to lose most—if not all—of the outer layer of skin. Additionally, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome may cause internal blistering, which can have a severe effect on the body’s organs and immune system, risking further life-threatening infections and complications. For this reason, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome treatment may be similar to treatments for severe burns, and may include a medically-induced coma and a stay in the intensive care unit. Ultimately, people who develop Stevens-Johnson Syndrome may suffer from severe pain and an extensive recovery time. Some sufferers may never fully recover and may have permanent scarring and partial blindness.

Doctors should be aware of the signs and symptoms of SJS, the seriousness of the reaction, and the fact that patients sometimes exhibit flu-like symptoms. Proper diagnosis may involve questioning a patient about recent medications and skin tests for related allergic reactions. A failed or delayed SJS diagnosis can result in significantly more harm to patients if proper treatment is delayed.

Contact a Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Attorney for Help

Patients who developed SJS may be entitled to substantial compensation because of delayed diagnosis of SJS or if doctors were not properly and adequately informed of medications that may result in development of SJS. Contact a Lopez McHugh Stevens-Johnson Syndrome attorney at (877) 737-8525 for a free consultation today.