*
Blisters  

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

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.

*

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.

*

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 chance of SJS include:

*

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
*

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.

*

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:

Medications  

Your doctor may advise you to stop taking medications that may be causing the condition.

If not related to your symptoms, you may be given:

  • Pain medication to reduce discomfort
  • Antihistamines to reduce itching
  • Antibiotics to treat an infection caused by bacteria
  • Antiviral medications to treat an infection caused by viruses
  • Topical steroids to reduce swelling
  • IV immunoglobulin (IVIG)

Fluid Replacement  

You may be given IV fluids at the hospital to replace lost fluids.

Skin Treatments  

Treatments for the skin may include:

  • Applying cool, wet compresses to blisters
  • Removing dead skin
  • Wound care
*

Prevention  

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