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Steven Johnson Syndrome Death & Mortality Rate

Rare and potentially fatal, Steven Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is a severe skin condition that causes the outer most layer of the skin (epidermis) to detach from the other layers of skin, die and fall (slough) off of the body. The condition can have damaging effects on the body's internal organs such as the heart, kidneys and liver. Whether a patient will survive and recover will depend on factors that may include:

  • The severity of the condition
  • The patient's unique personal medical history
  • How soon the condition is diagnosed and treatments begin

Findings compiled by the Jefferson Medical College and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine claim that the mortality rates for SJS patients is:

  • Between 1 and 5 percent if less than 10 percent of the body surface area is affected
  • Between 25 and 35 percent if more than 30 percent of the body surface area is affected

The condition can affect people of all ages; the youngest documented patient, to date, is 3 months old.

Steven Johnson Syndrome Biopsy, Diagnosis & Treatments

Patients with Stevens Johnson Syndrome will have the best possible prognoses if they are diagnosed and treated early on. To confirm or rule out the presence of SJS, physicians will extensively go over a patient's medical history and then give him/her a thorough physical exam. Should symptoms of Steven Johnson Syndrome (such as the following) be found, doctors will then take tissue samples and perform a biopsy:

  • blisters and lesions that primarily affect the mucous membranes in the mouth, nose and eyes
  • facial and tongue swelling
  • hives
  • a rapidly spread, red or purple skin rash
  • sloughing or shedding of the skin
  • sore throat
  • widespread skin pain

Upon a diagnosis of Steven Johnson Syndrome, patients will be immediately admitted to an intensive care unit or a burn center for emergency treatments, including:

  • fluid replace, corticosteroids and/or immunoglobin via an IV
  • pain medications, antihistamines and/or antibiotics
  • topical steroid creams to reduce skin inflammation
  • use of cool, wet compresses on the skin to soothe blisters and lesions

When inflammation has subsided, doctors may perform skin grafts if the level of skin damage is moderate to severe.

When Medication Side Effects Cause SJS

Although about 50 percent of all cases of SJS have no identifiable cause, some medications have been linked to the development of Steven Johnson Syndrome. Development may occur when a patient has a bad reaction to a medication, such as:

  • allopurinol and other gout-fighting drugs
  • anti-seizure medications
  • ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin and other non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
  • sulfonamides, penicillins and other medications prescribed to treat bacterial injections

Brand names of some of these medications include:

  • Bactrim
  • Bextra
  • Celebrex
  • Daypro
  • Dilantin
  • Motrin
  • Sepra
  • Vioxx
  • Children's Advil

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you or a loved one has taken any of these (or other) medications and has been diagnosed with Stevens Johnson Syndrome, there may be a connection. If you feel that a medication may have caused your sickness, please contact our Stevens Johnson Syndrome attorneys to find out if you qualify to seek compensation for your injuries and losses. We will thoroughly evaluate your claims and help you recover any compensation you are entitled to.

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