Stevens-Johnson Syndrome FAQ

SJSStevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is a relatively rare, but serious condition that typically occurs as a reaction to a medication one has taken. As a result, skin may blister and peel off. Blisters may also form within your body, causing difficulty swallowing or even urinating. Seeking immediate treatment is imperative to protect your skin and organs from any permanent damage.


SJS is initially accompanied with a fever or flu-like symptoms. This typically lasts a few days before more symptoms appear, such as:

  • Painful, watery, red eyes.
  • Red or purple skin that appears burned and may peel off.
  • Painful blisters on skin, mouth, nose, and genitals.

These symptoms are indicative of SJS, which is dangerous if left untreated. If you experience the above symptoms, go to the emergency room.


As previously noted, SJS is caused by a reaction one may have to certain drugs. While over 100 drugs can cause it, there are some particularly common culprits, which include:

  • Pain relief medication, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium.
  • Medications used to treat seizures or mental illness.
  • Medications used to treat gout or arthritis, such as allopurinol.
  • Sulfa antibiotics that are used for fighting infections.

There are some individuals who are more prone to getting SJS. Those most vulnerable to it are:

  • Those who may have a compromised immune system, such as individuals with HIV.
  • Those who have had SJS before.
  • Those are undergoing radiation treatments.
  • Children being treated with sulfa antibiotics.

SJS will typically appear within the first two months of you taking the medication that triggers it.


After admittance to a hospital for SJS, a doctor will first make sure that you stop the medication you are on and treat the painful symptoms you are experiencing. Often, SJS patients are treated as burn victims, given the damage done their skin. They will also ensure that your body stays hydrated, so you will likely receive fluids from an IV.

To treat the blisters and peeling skin, hospital staff will also need to keep your skin clean to prevent infection. It is possible for the recovery process to take 2 to 4 weeks, though more severe cases could take longer. Unfortunately, even after recovery, there may be some lingering long-term effects that include scarring, blindness, and loss of teeth. If treatment is delayed, SJS can lead to sepsis, trouble breathing, and death.

The Beasley Firm began in 1958 and our Philadelphia drug injury attorneys have since been holding pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers accountable for the harm they cause their patients. We have secured hundreds of millions on behalf of our clients across the nation.

Call 215-866-2424 for a free consultation and to receive the answers you need.