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Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Caused by Several Different Drugs

It’s really disturbing to find out that some of the drugs our doctors prescribe, and even some of those we buy over-the-counter have the potential to cause serious disorders, disfigure us, and even cause death when taken in the recommended doses. But that’s exactly the case with hundreds of commonly prescribed drugs, and many over-the-counter ones. One serious disease risk is Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), a condition that can cause sores anywhere on the body, including inside the mouth. SJS can kill the outer layers of skin, leaving the dermis exposed much like a 3rd degree burn after the skin has sloughed off.

If that isn’t bad enough, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is considered by some to be the mild form of Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN). Both have several causes, and some are unknown, but the majority of cases are caused by prescription medications such as the anticonvulsant phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek, Cerebyx). Some over the counter medications, NSAIDs (ibuprofen, for example), herbals (ginseng was identified), and illegal drugs like cocaine are also indicated as having caused SJS.

There are a number of types of drugs that can cause SJS, but not all within a class have been associated with this allergic reaction. The classes include over-the-counter NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and others and ginseng often found in herbal remedies. Prescription drugs include penicillins (antibiotics), phenytoins (anticonvulsants), sulfonamides (antibiotics), enzyme inhibitors, NNRTIs (to treat AIDS), antifungals, antihyperglycemics (to treat diabetes), azalides (antibiotics), and stimulant drugs.

If you notice any of these symptoms after starting any drug in these classes, notify you doctor immediately. If he doesn’t seem concerned or if your symptoms get worse seek a second opinion, and ask about changing your medications. Should your doctor fail to respond timely and appropriately and you develop SJS or TEN as a result of your prescription(s) seek legal counsel regarding medical negligence.

The list of drugs is lengthy and taking multiple medications increases the risk of SJS. SJS is a serious, life threatening disorder. If you suspect you might have SJS, or have been given this diagnosis, you may be entitled to compensation. For a free, no-obligation consultation, please contact Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, the experienced pharmaceutical attorneys.

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