What is Stevens-Johnson syndrome?
Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a serious disorder of the mucous membranes. It is thought to be an allergic reaction. The exact cause of Stevens-Johnson syndrome can't always be identified. But known causes include:
Stevens-Johnson syndrome has signs and symptoms similar to those of erythema multiforme, a condition causing painful blistering and erosion of the skin and mucous membranes. However, in Stevens-Johnson syndrome, the blistering and systemic symptoms are more severe and extensive — often involving the mouth, nose, eyes, vagina, urethra, lower respiratory tract and digestive tract.
Stevens-Johnson syndrome occurs most often in children and young adults. Signs and symptoms often appear suddenly and include:
A doctor may diagnose Stevens-Johnson syndrome based on:
Treatment of Stevens-Johnson syndrome is directed at the underlying cause, when possible, and at managing the signs and symptoms. Treatment may include:
Recovery may take several weeks. When Stevens-Johnson syndrome is diagnosed within 24 to 48 hours of onset, prompt treatment may shorten the duration of the illness. Up to 15 percent of cases of Stevens-Johnson syndrome result in death.
Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a type of serious allergic or hypersensitivity reaction. Signs and symptoms include blistering and erosion of the skin and mucous membranes, especially of the mouth.
Last Updated: 11/22/2005
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