A Stevens Johnson Syndrome Lawsuit may be option for people who took medications and developed SJS syndrome. SJS is a rare but severe skin disorder caused in reaction to certain types of over-the-counter and prescription medications. Affected patients and their families may be eligible to seek compensation with the help of a bad drug attorney.
For more information, contact Attorney Group today. Our consultations are free, confidential and without any obligation on your part. We can help answer your questions, and if you choose to pursue a claim we can connect you with an affiliated attorney who can assist you throughout the legal process.
What is Stevens Johnson Syndrome?
Stevens Johnson Syndrome, also known as Leyll’s Syndrome, erythema multiforme and, as it is called as it progresses, toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), is a serious, unpredictable reaction that often begins with flu-like symptoms followed by a painful purple or red rash. The rash then blisters and spreads, and the top layer of skin subsequently dies and sheds. The condition often requires hospitalization, and a full recovery can take weeks or even months. Complications of SJS include permanent skin damage, damage to internal organs and eye inflammation as well as blood and skin infections. The syndrome can also cause abnormal nail growth, hair loss or permanent scarring.
Plaintiffs filing a Stevens Johnson Syndrome lawsuit claim that SJS caused them to incur significant medical expenses, lose time from work, become permanently disabled and suffer extreme pain and mental anguish. The disorder can strike both children and adults. Affected patients must often receive treatment in burn and trauma centers due to the loss of skin and severe blisters that occur. There is currently no known cure for Stevens Johnson Syndrome, and deaths caused by the condition have been reported.
Lawsuits claim drug makers know or should know the risks associated with their medications and have provided inadequate warnings to the public. The over-the-counter pain medication ibuprofen, found in Motrin and Advil, has been linked to Stevens Johnson Syndrome..
Medications Linked to SJS
Stevens Johnson Syndrome can reportedly be caused by almost any medication, including painkillers, sedatives, anticonvulsants and antibiotics. Medications that have been linked to Stevens Johnson Syndrome include:
- Leavquin – an antibiotic
- Aleve and Excedrin
- Celebrex, Bextra and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Bactrim – a sulfa drug
- Ibuprofen – sold under the name Nuprin, Advil, Children’s Motrin and Motrin
- Ketex – an antibiotic
- Carbamazepine, phenobarbital and Tegretol – seizure medications
- Norflocacin, sparfloxacin and other fluorquinolone antibiotics
- Zithromax, tetracycline, penicillin and other sulfa-based antibiotics
In May 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered that a number of over-the-counter and prescription medications have updated labels warning of an increased risk of developing SJS. Drugs such as Motrin, Children’s Motrin, Advil Migraine, Advil Liqui-Gels, Advil Cold & Sinus, and Tolectin each had either new warnings for Stevens Johnson Syndrome or additional warnings to reflect the risk of the condition. The following year, in December 2007, the FDA issued an alert that carbamazepine, marketed as Tegretol, Equetro, Carbatrol and its generics could cause Stevens Johnson Syndrome, particularly for Asian or South Asian patients.
In June 2011, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that the FDA had published a regulation establishing a new safety-reporting paradigm for medications for the purpose of improving consumer protection. Researchers have acknowledge that not only is Stevens Johnson Syndromeserious and unexpected, but it is also known to be strongly associated with exposure to medications.
Symptoms of SJS
Symptoms of Stevens Johnson Syndrome may begin with a headache, sore throat, and fever, and over the course of a few days, blisters, skin lesions, and respiratory infections may develop. The condition typically affects the mucous membranes of the throat and mouth, and can cause swelling of the eyes. It can also progress to internal organ damage.
As Stevens Johnson Syndrome progresses, the skin literally sloughs off the body in sheets, and patients are almost always treated in burn units at local hospitals. If the patient develops lesions in the lungs or if the skin lesions are infected, the condition can result in death. Fatalities occur in between 5 and 15 percent of all diagnosed cases. Recognizing early symptoms of Stevens Johnson Syndrome and receiving prompt medical attention at burn units or intensive care units are the most valuable tools to minimize any long-term damage or complications.
Who Is at Risk?
Allergic drug reactions cause more than 100,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, and adverse drug reactions are one of the leading causes of death in hospitalized patients in the country. Each day, many Americans are admitted to hospitals with severe or life-threatening reactions to medications, and some of these admissions can be prevented. According to RN Patient Advocates, 18.6 percent of all drugs prescribed before the patient was hospitalized were contraindicated and should not have been taken by the patient.
Individuals who are most likely to develop Stevens Johnson Syndrome are typically allergic to painkillers such as ibuprofen and antibiotics. While most cases occur in adults between 20 and 40 years of age, the condition has been diagnosed in children as young as three months old. Any patient who takes over-the-counter or prescription medications is at risk of experiencing an allergic reaction and developing a severe health condition such as Stevens Johnson Syndrome.
Stevens Johnson Syndrome Lawsuit Claims
Attorneys note a Stevens Johnson Syndrome lawsuit in which a jury handed down a $21 million verdict for a woman who developed SJS after taking medication for pain in her shoulder. She was prescribed the generic form of Clinori when she subsequently developed Stevens Johnson Syndrome. According to the lawsuit, she developed severe and life-threatening complications, including TEN that resulted in a 60 percent loss of skin. In another case, a woman received $120 million in compensation after she sustained brain damage due to SJS.
In 2005, the parents of a girl who suffered blindness and other health problems after she took Children’s Motrin filed a Stevens Johnson Syndrome lawsuit. The drug maker had already settled a similar lawsuit filed by the parents of a nine-year-old girl who died 20 months after taking Children’s Motrin. The girl was reportedly unable to eat, breathe, or speak on her own before she succumbed to the disorder.
Another Stevens Johnson Syndrome lawsuit alleges severe complications brought on by the condition, including pain and temporary paralysis, and conditions requiring invasive medical procedures such as lung transplant surgery and eyelid surgery. In each of these cases, plaintiffs claim the manufacturers of over-the-counter ibuprofen products failed to warn of the risks of contracting Stevens Johnson Syndrome.
Injured Users May Be Entitled to Compensation
Drug manufacturers have a duty to ensure their products are accompanied by full and accurate instructions and warnings to guide prescribing doctors and other health care providers in making treatment decisions. If a drug maker fails to fulfill this duty, it could be held liable in lawsuits for injuries that may result.
Patients who are injured by Stevens Johnson Syndrome may be entitled to compensation for damages, including:
- Medical expenses
- The permanency of the injury
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish
- Loss of income or ability to work
If a patient dies from complications after taking Stevens Johnson Syndrome, family members may be entitled to compensation for the wrongful death of their loved one, including:
- Conscious pain and suffering of a loved one prior to death
- Pain, suffering, and mental anguish from the loss of a loved one
- Funeral expenses
Patients who have suffered severe side effects after taking medication, as well as the families of those who have died as a result of complications with the drug, are encouraged to seek the advice of a Stevens Johnson Syndrome lawsuit attorney to learn more about their rights and remedies.
For more information, contact Attorney Group. When you contact us, an attorney will follow up with you to speak with you about your case or answer questions that you might have. There is no cost or obligation to speak with us, and any information you provide will be kept confidential.
Please note that the law limits the time you have to pursue a claim or file a lawsuit for an injury. If you think you have a case, you should not delay taking action.
See our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information, and contact Attorney Group today.