Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Lawsuit
Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) is a rare yet serious skin disorder in which the skin blisters and the top layer of affected skin sheds. The blisters are extremely painful and often spread to orifices or openings in the human body. SJS is usually a reaction to a medication or is caused by an infection. Proving the causation of SJS is difficult, so it is important to have attorneys that have years of experience and knowledge of the complexity of Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
The Minnesota Stevens-Johnson syndrome attorneys at GoldenbergLaw have the experience, resources, and compassion to successfully handle your case. We will vigorously fight for you and your family to recover the compensation you need to deal with the dramatic effects on your life, and we will help you get the treatment you need to rehabilitate to the best of your ability.Call 855-751-6465 >
Case Quick Facts
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is a severe skin condition which can potentially cause burn-like symptoms and even death. It is one of the most serious adverse reactions to certain medications. An even more severe form of the condition is called Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN).
GoldenbergLaw is currently investigating cases where an individual has developed Stevens-Johnson Syndrome or Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis due to a failure of medical practitioners to follow the dosing or titration instructions of the manufacturer.
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is a severe skin condition that may start out feeling like the flu, but is often followed by a skin rash and skin pain similar to a burn. TEN is an even more serious version of the condition and covers 30% or more of the body. This condition impacts the skin and mucous membranes and can result in skin peeling and blistering in sheets. This leaves raw, unprotected flesh which is extraordinarily painful. SJS/TEN can be fatal and is considered a medical emergency.
Other names for SJS/TEN include Lyell’s syndrome, SJS/TEN spectrum, drug-induced SJS, mycoplasma-included SJS, and susceptibility to severe cutaneous adverse reaction.
There can be even more risks in developing SJS or TEN in children under 18 years old. Most people that develop SJS or TEN will end up in intensive care or a hospital burn unit for weeks. The pain that a person incurs with SJS or TEN has been described by our clients as “unbearable.” Additionally, many people develop serious permanent damage to eyes, tear ducts, mouth, anus, genital tract or other affected parts of their bodies.
Because Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is so rare, it is not always easy to identify. Symptoms of SJS include:
- unexplained widespread skin pain
- unexplained rash that spreads
- blisters on skin and/or orifice
Sometimes, an individual experiences flu-like symptoms several days before a rash appears.
SJS is a severe disorder that requires immediate medical attention. An individual with SJS may experience high medical expenses, lost wages, and a diminished quality of life.
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome can be caused by certain medications including anti-epileptic drugs, antipsychotics, and antibiotics. One such drug strongly linked to causing SJS is Lamictal, one of the most popular antipsychotic medications in the United States. In 2010, an FDA black-box warning was added to Lamictal which is one of the most stringent FDA warnings that can be added to medications. The black-box warning relays that Lamcital can cause severe adverse skin reactions such as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, Dress Syndrome, and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis. Furthermore, over the years, several studies have confirmed that these specific medications are strongly linked to causing SJS.
Prescribing doctors or nurse practitioners should be cautious when prescribing medications linked to causing SJS. The manufacturers of these drugs provide explicit instructions on risks, dosing and titration (how fast to build up the drug in the patient’s system). Increasing the dosing or titration may increase the risks-especially for minors.
Prescribers must also inform their patients of the severe risks associated with taking the drug and the need to immediately report any symptoms of flu or rash so the medication may be stopped immediately. A failure to do so may result in increasing the risks for the patient.
In spite of these duties to their patients, there are unfortunately occasions when prescribing doctors have failed to adequately prescribe, dose or warn of the risk of SJS when putting their patients on medication. This medical oversight can and has resulted in patients developing SJS or TENS, failing to recognize the symptoms in time, and the patients sustaining severe, traumatic, and life-threatening reactions.
What Types of Medications Can Cause SJS/TEN?
Types of Medications that can cause SJS/TEN include:
- Antibacterial sulfa drugs
- Anti-epileptic drugs, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics
- Gout and kidney stone treatment
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Antibacterial sulfonamides
- HIV/AIDS treatment drugs
- Pain relievers
- Meloxican and Piroxicam
- Sulfa antibiotics
The most serious complication of SJS/TEN is death. The fatality rate for SJS cases is approximately 10 percent, and 50 percent for TEN cases. Secondary skin conditions associated with SJS/TENS such as cellulitis may lead to further problems such as blood poisoning (sepsis).
SJS and TEN causes the skin to peel off in sheets. This leaves large, raw, painful areas of exposed flesh.The loss of skin allows fluids and salts to ooze from the raw, painful areas which can easily become infected.
Treating SJS or TENS requires hospitalization and many people end up in intensive care or a burn unit of a hospital undergoing extensive therapy and utilizing the most powerful drugs to reduce pain.
Additional complications include:
- Lungs (Pneumonia)
- Heart (Myocarditis)
- Kidneys (nephritis)
- Liver (Hepatitis)
- Esophagus (Esophageal stricture)
- Eyes (rash, irritation, dry eyes, corneal ulceration, uveitis, blindness)
- Reproductive organs (vaginal stenosis and scarring of the penis)
- Anal damage to mucus membranes
Medical professionals and Pharmacists/Pharmacies.
According to Pharmacy Times, the black box warning on Lamictal warning of the risk of SJS is one of the top ten black box warnings of which medical professionals and pharmacies should be aware when prescribing and/or dispensing such medication. SJS is a horrific, life-threatening condition, and the risk of developing such a severe illness must be taken into consideration by medical professionals and pharmacists when prescribing or dispensing a drug. Furthermore, this risk must be communicated to the patient. If a prescriber or a pharmacist allows a drug to be dosed or titrated beyond what is recommended, they are increasing the serious risk to the patient and the patient should be informed of this.
Unfortunately, in spite of it being well known that certain medications can cause SJS, medical professionals are often found to be unaware of the link or the risks and fail to inform their patients about the risk for developing SJS. This avoidable oversight can and has caused substantial harm to patients.
Lamictal (lamotrigine) is an anti-epileptic medication also known as an anticonvulsant. The drug is commonly used to treat epileptic seizures in adults or children and to delay mood episodes in patients with bipolar disorder (manic depression). The medication is available as an immediate-release drug and extended-release Lamictal XR which is only available for use in patients above the age of 13. This is a highly prescribed drug and children are more vulnerable than adults to develop SJS or TEN from this medication.
GoldenbergLaw is currently representing both children and adults diagnosed with SJS/TEN due to improper dosing of medications. We represent drug victims around the country. Most people do not even know when their doctor or practitioner has exceeded the manufacturer’s recommended dosing instructions. Contact our Minnesota Drug and Medical Malpractice attorneys today for a free case consultation. We have over 30 years of experience obtaining justice for victims of medical negligence. Let us deliver the Gold standard advocacy you deserve.Do I Qualify?
In a multinational case study, EuroSCAR reported by ResearchGate indicated that the gout, kidney stone, and uric treatment drug Allopurinol was the drug most frequently associated with causing SJS/TEN. The study revealed that the use of Allopurinol has increased since previous case-controlled European study and daily doses equal to or greater than 200 mg were associated with a higher risk of SJS/TEN compared to lower doses. The study concluded that the occurrence of allopurinol-associated SJS/TEN has increased potentially due to the increased use and dosages of the drug.
A 6-year retrospective study conducted by the Department of Plastic Surgery at the Singapore General Hospital reviewed 23 patients with drug-induced SJS/TEN. The study determined that the most common causes for the condition were anticonvulsants and traditional medication. Complications from SJS/TEN caused by drugs were commonly ocular and sepsis. The average mortality rate for SJS/TEN patients in the study was 25% for patients with ocular complications and 10% for patients without ocular complications.
Many SJS/TEN cases occur in children and adults under 30 years old; however, cases can occur in other age groups, especially the elderly. SJS/TEN cases are more common in females than males.
People with the following conditions are at a greater risk of contracting SJS/TEN:
- Bone marrow transplant recipients
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Chronic diseases of joints and connective tissue
- Weakened immune system
- Family history of SJS/TEN
- Personal history of SJS/TEN
SJS/TEN can be caused by infections, vaccinations, and side effects from medications. In children, SJS is commonly caused by infections. However, in adults, SJS is most commonly caused by an adverse reaction to a medication.
Infections that can Cause SJS/TEN:
- Herpes (simplex or zoster)
Most Common Causes of SJS/TEN in Children:
- Herpes (simplex or zoster)
- Epstein-Barr virus
If you have been diagnosed with SJS/TEN due to an overprescription or misdosing of medication, you may have a case against the prescribing authority. Contact the Stevens-Johnson syndrome lawyers at GoldenbergLaw today for a free consultation.
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Our team of Minneapolis Stevens-Johnson syndrome lawyers has the experience and expertise needed to bring a complex medical malpractice claim. We have over 30 years of experience holding negligent medical providers accountable. Contact us today for a free consultation. Leave the sleepless nights to us.
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