There is a little known condition called Stevens Johnson Syndrome, or SJS that is earning more and more attention these days. Stevens Johnson Syndrome and its variants have the power to forever alter the lives of both survivors and families left behind who had no choice but to watch helplessly as someone they loved died a horrible, often painful and sometimes lingering death. Survivors live a life of uncertainty that is many times full of persistent health problems; problems that many physicians simply don’t understand how to treat.

This sometimes fatal, often life-changing condition is like someone flipped on a light switch in your autoimmune system and can’t figure out how to flip it back off again. When this happens, your body’s immune system thinks your internal organs and skin are foreign invaders – so the body tries to rid itself of them. This leads to prolonged and often lifelong health problems and illness.

Stevens Johnson Syndrome can be caused by almost all prescription drugs, many illnesses and even by ingesting meat containing trace amounts of antibiotics. The most common antibiotics which cause SJS are sulfa drugs and anti-consultants, but many over the counter drugs have been shown to cause SJS and its variants as well.

Some of the more common prescription drug classes proven to cause SJS are:

    • • Allopurinol
    • • Penicillins
    • • Barbiturates
    • • Sulfonamides
    • • Anticonvulsants

Some of the over the counter drugs shown to cause Stevens Johnson Syndrome are:

    • • Ibuprofen
    • • Acetaminophen
    • • DayPro

Other drugs known for potentially causing Stevens – Johnson syndrome include:

    • • Arava/ Leflunomide
    • • Bextra/ Valdecoxib
    • • Celebrex/ Celecoxib
    • • Clinoril/ Sulindac
    • • Dilantin
    • • Enbrel/ Etanercept
    • • Feldene/ Piroxicam
    • • Lamictal/ Lamotrigne
    • • Naprosyn/ Naproxen
    • • Remicade/ Infleximab
    • • Septra
    • • Serzone/ Nefazodone
    • • Vioxx/ Rofecoxib

Prompt and correct identification and diagnosis are absolutely paramount and is decisive in determining whether the patient will be a survivor, or causality. For those who survive Stevens Johnson Syndrome, the prompt and correct diagnosis and treatment often dictates what the rest of their lives will be like. Survivors lives are rarely the same, and the memories of those who have suffered and died are often looked back on in horror.