Steven Johnson Syndrome-Pictures, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

What is Steven Johnson Syndrome?

Steven Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is a serious, life threatening skin disorder which results from a severe allergic reaction caused by drugs or microorganisms. Though this condition may rarely occur, it can affect any person of any age and gender. SJS usually starts with flu like symptoms then followed by painful rashes and blisters that spread throughout the body, causing the skin’s top layer to shed and die. This condition is considered fatal and requires immediate hospitalization.

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Causes of Steven Johnson Syndrome

Though it is really hard to identify the main cause of Steven Johnson Syndrome, doctors would first assume that these allergic reactions are caused by certain medications and most of the time it is true. The medications that are commonly associated with SJS are as follows:

• Sulfa drugs

• Anticonvulsant drugs like Phenytoin, Lamotrigine, Carbamazepine, and Ethosuximide

• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Dicloflex, Valdecoxib, and Ibuprofen

• Anti fungal drugs like Fluconazole

• Antibiotics like Penicillin

• Sedative-hypnotic drugs like Barbiturates

• Nevirapine (a drug use to treat AIDS and HIV-1 infection)

Skin inflammation can also be caused by infections such as:

• Influenza


• Hepatitis

• Typhoid

• Herpes simplex virus

• Mumps

• Cat-scratch fever

• Histoplasmosis

• Epstein-Barr virus

Other causes may include radiation therapy and exposure to ultraviolet light. But in about 50% of SJS cases, the cause of inflammation cannot be identified.

Symptoms of Steven Johnson Syndrome

Before the rashes develop, Steven Johnson Syndrome patients will show these symptoms:

• Fever

• Cough

• Sore throat

• Headache

• Burning eyes

Early Symptoms of Steven Johnson Syndrome

At the first appearance of rash, these are the early symptoms:

• Red patches that are hot to the touch (they are usually found on the face, neck, and back of the neck)

• Swollen eye bags that almost look like black eye

• Fever

• Malaise

• Weakness

At the advanced stage, symptoms include:

• Red or purplish skin rashes that cover the patient’s entire body including palms, scalp, and soles of feet (rashes usually spread fast within hours or days).

• Sloughing of the skin

• Skin blistering

• Facial and tongue swelling

• Hives

Complications of Steven Johnson Syndrome

• Eye problems such as Keratitis, Uveitis, and Perforation which may lead to visual impairment

• Cellulitis

• Sepsis

• Damage in the internal organs which causes inflammation in the lungs, heart, kidney, and liver

• Gastrointestinal bleeding

• Pneumonia

• Nephritis

• Hepatitis

• Myalgia

• Permanent skin damage

Treatment for Steven Johnson Syndrome

Steven Johnson Syndrome is a fatal allergic condition. Upon onset of the rashes, time is very crucial as rashes can spread within hours to days and require immediate hospitalization. Treatment of SJS depends on the cause of the allergy. If certain medicines have caused the allergic reaction, taking those drugs should be halted immediately.

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There is no specific standard treatment for SJS but patients are mostly given supportive care such as fluid replacement, wound care, and eye care. Medications that may help lessen the discomfort and inflammation are pain medications, antihistamines, antibiotics, and topical steroids. In addition, there are two other types of medications that are still being currently studied and are said to be possible treatments for Steven Johnson Syndrome – they are intravenous corticosteroids and immunoglobulin intravenous. In extreme cases, the help of a burn specialist and plastic surgeons may be required. But to avoid these complications it is wise to recognize the symptoms as early as possible and have Steven Johnson Syndrome treated right away.

Steven Johnson Syndrome Pictures

Here are pictures of Steven Johnson Syndrome, photos of people who have been affected by this skin disorder.

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