Stevens Johnson Syndrome – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

August 17, 20130 Comments

Stevens Johnson syndrome is a rare skin condition caused by adverse reaction to medicines or infection. It usually begins like flu which is followed by the appearance of red rash causing blisters on the skin. It will severely affect the epidermis layer of the skin which will start shedding. Actually this syndrome is a medical emergency where patients are treated in hospital. Your doctor has to identify the underlying cause and treat the symptoms to avoid complications. It will take months to recover from this skin condition.


Some of the signs of Stevens Johnson syndrome are swelling on the face, swelling of tongue, skin pain, and hives. There will be fever and body pain followed by skin rash that spreads on the entire skin within hours. It produces blisters or lesions on the skin more particularly on the nose, mouth and eyes. There will be skin shedding which disposes died skin layer. Very often this syndrome produces flu like symptoms like fever, sore throat, cough and burning eyes.


Still no concrete cause has been found for Stevens Johnson syndrome. It is believed to be caused by side effects of medications or infections. People who are using anti inflammatory drugs (non steroidal), penicillin, anti gout medicines, anticonvulsant (for epilepsy) drugs can have increased chance for getting this syndrome. Other infectious disease like herpes, HIV, typhoid, influenza, hepatitis and diphtheria can cause Stevens Johnsons syndrome. Some experts believe that individuals carry this syndrome on the defective gene of HLA-B12.

Complications :

Though it is skin infection, still it can produce life threatening conditions like meningitis affecting the soft membranes around the brain or spinal cord. It can also produce sepsis creating huge bacterial infection on the blood which will rapidly spread throughout the body.

This syndrome can cause inflammation to the eyes and dryness and in severe cases it may cause blindness. Further this skin infection can produce lesions on the internal organs like lungs, heart or kidney causing life threatening conditions.

Tests :

Your doctor will physically examine the skin condition and will collect your medical history. He may do skin biopsy for identifying this disorder.

Treatment :

Often, people affected with Stevens Johnson syndrome should be hospitalized for continuous monitoring of health condition. In case if this skin disorder is caused by intake of any medications your doctor will advise you to stop taking it.

Shedding of skin is a serious condition which will cause dehydration and hence replacing the lost fluids is the first treatment in this disease. Fluids will be given intravenously if conditions are stable or through tubing into the stomach if the condition of the person is unstable.

Applying cool compress on the skin will reduce inflammation caused by blisters. Topical creams will be applied on the skin and covered. Since this disease can affect your eyes, you have to consult ophthalmologist for preventing any eye damage. Medications like pain killers can be taken to reduce pain and discomfort. For managing severe itching, antihistamines are given. Corticosteroids are given to reduce the severity of symptoms.

Immunoglobulin intravenous is administered for the patient to improve the immune system. In case large portion of skin shedding is there, skin grafting is done by removing the skin from another part of the body and attaching it to the affected area.

Images, Pics, Photos and Pictures of Stevens Johnson Syndrome :

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Prevention :

It is not possible to prevent Stevens Johnson syndrome since no one knows what factors trigger it. But people who are already affected with this disease should be very careful in not getting this again since it will be very severe.

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