ComplicationsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Possible complications of Stevens-Johnson syndrome include:
- Secondary skin infection (cellulitis). This acute infection of your skin can lead to life-threatening complications, including meningitis — an infection of the membranes and fluid surrounding your brain and spinal cord — and sepsis.
- Sepsis. Sepsis occurs when bacteria from a massive infection enter your bloodstream and spread throughout your body. Sepsis is a rapidly progressing, life-threatening condition that can cause shock and organ failure.
- Eye problems. The rash caused by Stevens-Johnson syndrome can lead to inflammation in your eyes. In mild cases, this may cause irritation and dry eyes. In severe cases, it can lead to extensive tissue damage and scarring within your eyes that can result in blindness.
- Damage to internal organs. Stevens-Johnson syndrome can cause lesions on your internal organs, which can result in inflammation of your lungs (pneumonitis), heart (myocarditis), kidney (nephritis) and liver (hepatitis).
- Permanent skin damage. When your skin grows back following Stevens-Johnson syndrome, it may have abnormal bumps and coloring (pigmentation). Scars may remain on your skin, as well. Lasting skin problems may cause your hair to fall out, and your fingernails and toenails may not grow normally.
- Nirken MH, et al. Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis: Clinical manifestations; pathogenesis; and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Dec. 13, 2010.
- High WA, et al. Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis: Management, prognosis, and long-term sequelae. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Dec. 13, 2010.
- Evans J. Topical treatment protocol for Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis. Journal of Wound Ostomy & Continence Nursing. 2009;36:509.
- Hazin R, et al. Derm diagnoses you can't afford to miss. The Journal of Family Practice. 2009;58:298.
- Knowles S, et al. Clinical risk management of Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis spectrum. Dermatologic Therapy. 2009;22:441.
- Ward KE, et al. Severe adverse skin reactions to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: A review of the literature. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. 2010;67:206.
- Usatine RP, et al. Dermatologic emergencies. American Family Physician. 2010;82:773.