A teenager in the United Kingdom has survived one of the most serious cases of Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) on record after she contracted SJS when she took Tamiflu in an effort to prevent herself from contracting the swine flu.
While the girl is lucky even to have survived her run-in with the horrible skin disease, she didn’t come out of it unscathed. She might not ever get her vision back. The Oxford Times reported that the girl, Samantha Millard, had taken 3 tablets of Tamiflu hoping to avoid catching the dreaded swine flu. Within 72 hours of taking those pills, she was suffering instead from SJS, which is a severe allergic reaction to medications. Her case quickly developed into Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TENS), a more severe form of SJS.
Millard’s case was very extreme. At one point she was placed on life support; she even lost the top layer of her skin. To make matters worse, she lost her vision entirely and so far, she still hasn’t regained her sight. She has also had to learn to walk again. Millard has had to have two operations on her eyes thus far, but doctors cannot guarantee that her vision will ever return.
SJS is the result of a patient having an adverse reaction to medication. Most people don’t even know that it exists or that they might have an allergic reaction to drugs until they or a loved one has the problem. Just about any form of medication can trigger SJS, but typically it is caused by painkillers and antibiotics. Most recently, SJS was linked to Vandetanib by the FDA. Vandetanib is an experimental drug that is given to patients with thyroid cancer.