Your browser does not support javascript:   Search for gard hereSearch for news-and-events here.

Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Print friendly version

Stevens-Johnson syndrome


Other Names for this Disease

  • Erythema multiforme major
  • SJS
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Overview

What is Stevens-Johnson syndrome?

What are the signs and symptoms of Stevens-Johnson syndrome?

What causes Stevens-Johnson syndrome?

What is Stevens-Johnson syndrome?

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), also called erythema multiforme major, is a limited form of toxic epidermal necrolysis. This disorder affects the skin, mucous membranes and eyes.[1][2] Stevens-Johnson syndrome occurs twice as often in men as women, and most cases appear in children and young adults under 30, although it can develop in people at any age.[1] It is an emergency medical condition that usually requires hospitalization. Treatment focuses on eliminating the underlying cause, controlling symptoms and minimizing complications.[3]
Last updated: 11/22/2010

What are the signs and symptoms of Stevens-Johnson syndrome?

Often, Stevens-Johnson syndrome begins with flu-like symptoms, followed by a painful red or purplish rash that spreads and blisters, eventually causing the top layer of the skin to die and shed.[3] To be classified as Stevens-Johnson syndrome, the condition must involve less than 10% of the body surface area.[2] The condition is characterized by painful, blistery lesions on the skin and the mucous membranes (the thin, moist tissues that line body cavities) of the mouth, throat, genital region, and eyelids. It can also cause serious eye problems, such as severe conjunctivitis; iritis, an inflammation inside the eye; corneal blisters and erosions; and corneal holes. In some cases, the ocular complications from this condition can be disabling and lead to severe vision loss.[1]
Last updated: 6/11/2013

What causes Stevens-Johnson syndrome?

The exact cause of Stevens-Johnson syndrome is unknown in 25 to 30% of cases.[1][2][3][4] In those cases in which the cause can be determined, it is believed to be related to an adverse allergic drug reaction. Almost any drug--but most particularly sulfa drugs--can cause Stevens-Johnson syndrome. The allergic reaction to the drug may not occur until 7-14 days after first using it. Stevens-Johnson syndrome can also be preceded by a viral infection, such as herpes or the mumps.[1] In rare cases, Stevens-Johnson syndrome may be caused by an illness or bone marrow transplantation.[2][3]
Last updated: 6/11/2013

References
  1. Facts About The Cornea and Corneal Disease. National Eye Institute (NEI). 2010; http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/cornealdisease/#m. Accessed 3/15/2010.
  2. Roujeau JC. Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Orphanet. 2009; http://www.orpha.net/consor/cgi-bin/OC_Exp.php?lng=EN&Expert=36426. Accessed 3/15/2010.
  3. Stevens-Johnson syndrome. MayoClinic.com. 2009; http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stevens-johnson-syndrome/DS00940/METHOD=print. Accessed 3/15/2010.
  4. Zieve D, Eltz DR. Erythema multiforme. MedlinePlus. 2010; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000851.htm. Accessed 3/15/2010.


Other Names for this Disease
  • Erythema multiforme major
  • SJS
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.