Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is characterized by many horrific symptoms, like skin shedding, which can be life-threatening. As a result, SJS treatment requires hospitalization, often in an intensive care unit or burn center. While there is no definite SJS treatment, SJS patients usually receive treatment for their symptoms..

The first step in SJS treatment is to discontinue any medications that may be causing it. Eliminating the causative drug is an imperative part of SJS treatment because it significantly reduces the mortality rate, especially if done before blisters occur. Because it can be difficult to determine exactly which drug may be causing the SJS, the doctor administering treatment may recommend discontinuation of all nonessential medications.

Medications you may receive during SJS treatment include:

  • Pain medication to reduce discomfort
  • Antibiotics to control infection, when needed
  • In severe cases, immunoglobulin intravenous (IGIV) to halt the SJS process

Because skin loss can result in significant fluid loss from your body, replacing fluids is an important part of treatment. Stevens Johnson Syndrome patients may receive fluids and nutrients through a tube placed through their noses and into their stomachs (nasogastric tube). Blisters that are still intact are generally left to heal on their own. The treatment team may gently remove any dead skin, and then place a dressing with a topical anesthetic over the affected areas, if needed.

When SJS affects a large portion of the body, skin grafting (removing skin from one area of the body and attaching it to another) may be necessary to help a patient heal. However, this treatment is required only in the most severe cases.

Generally, if the underlying cause of SJS can be eliminated and the skin reaction stopped, a patient’s skin will begin to grow again within several days. In severe cases, full recovery may take several months. However, when SJS is diagnosed within 24 to 48 hours after its onset, prompt treatment may shorten the illness’s duration.

SJS & Eye Treatment

Because SJS can affect the eyes, another important part of SJS treatment is getting an ophthalmology exam. Stevens Johnson Syndrome patients should receive saline and antibiotic eye drops and use them frequently as part of the treatment. In addition, some SJS treatment experts recommend that patients wear special contact lenses to help with light-sensitivity.

If you developed SJS after taking a drug, please contact us today to assess your legal rights.

Published November 17, 2011 by