Overview of SJS Causes
Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is caused by a reaction to drugs or by underlying infections and malignancies. Bextra (valdecoxib) and Celebrex (celecoxib) are two prescription pain relievers that have been associated with SJS and with toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN); TEN is a more severe form of SJS. Daypro, a prescription pain reliever introduced in mid 1902, has also been shown to induce SJS and TEN. Over-the-counter pain relievers implicated as a cause for this debilitating disorder include Motrin and Children's Motrin. Patients taking Advil and other drugs, where ibuprofen is the active pain reliever ingredient, also appear to be at risk of developing Stevens Johnson Syndrome. Antibiotics, including those based on sulfa, phenytoin or penicillin, had previously been prescribed to a high-percentage of Stevens Johnson Syndrome patients. Drugs used to treat HIV, including nevirapine, have been associated with an outbreak of SJS in at least two patients.
SJS causes are broken into four different categories; underlying infections, drug reactions, malignancies, and unknown. Underlying viral infections that have been associated with Stevens Johnson Syndrome include herpes simplex, AIDS, coxackie viral infections, influenza, hepatitis, mumps, mycoplasmal infections and others. Bacterial infections include diphtheria, Brucellosis, mycobacteriae, mycoplasma pneumonia and typhoid. Fungal infections previously associated with SJS include coccidioidomycosis, dermatophytosis and histoplasmosis. Certain types of protozoal infections, including malaria and trichomoniasis, have also been reported. Although Stevens Johnson Syndrome is relatively rare in children, it has been associated with Epstein-Barr virus.
Drug reactions, as the cause of SJS and TEN, are rarer than that of underlying infection, but can be prevented by avoidance of the drug. Drugs often associated with Stevens Johnson Syndrome include the COX-2 inhibitors or cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors. These COX-2 drugs have been widely prescribed for inflammation and pain associated with arthritis and other chronic disorders. Bextra (valdecoxib) and Celebrex (celecoxib) are COX-2 inhibitor drugs that have been known to illicit SJS and/or TEN. Penicillin and anticonvulsants are also known to be associated with SJS and TEN. Stevens Johnson Syndrome treatment methods are designed to manage symptoms of the disease. Currently, there is no treatment that is able to eradicate the skin disorder.
Various carcinomas and lymphomas have also been reported in SJS or TEN patients. Between 25 to 50% of all Stevens Johnson Syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis patients are idiopathic; that is to say, there is no known cause.
SJS and TEN Legal Remedies
If you or a loved one has been afflicted with Stevens Johnson Syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis, then it is possible that the condition was caused by an allergic reaction to a drug. Drug manufacturers have a responsibility to notify physicians and patients of any potential harmful side effects of drugs. If you suspect that your symptoms or the disease of your loved one was caused by an adverse drug reaction, please contact a skilled personal injury attorney. He or she will discuss your situation to help you determine if compensation might be available. In addition, personal injury lawyers often have considerable experience in other areas of law and are able to help you in a range of situations. For example, if you also need assistance of a car accident lawyer and/or DUI attorney, your personal injury lawyer can often be of help or can recommend another attorney who specializes in these areas of law.
Last Revision: July 14, 2009