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Did Advil Ibuprofen Cause Teen's Stevens Johnson Syndrome?

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Durham, NCIt may never be determined what caused Carlton's Stevens Johnson Syndrome. Was it the Ibuprofen that was given to the 17-year-old boarding school student for sniffles and a fever? And was that Ibuprofen Advil Ibuprofen?

Will there be an Ibuprofen lawsuit?

What is known, according to an op / ed piece that was published in The Palm Beach Post (10/13/12) and authored by the boy's mother, is that the 17-year-old was taken to the infirmary at his boarding school suffering from fever and sniffles. His mother, and the author of the essay, Dr. Melanie Bone, authorized nurses at the infirmary to monitor her son overnight and dispense Tylenol or Ibuprofen, as necessary.

Ibuprofen has been linked, in rare cases, to the onset of Stevens Johnson Syndrome, a debilitating condition that attacks a patient's skin. SJS Ibuprofen patients suffer skin events akin to third degree burns, and in some of the most serious cases patients have died. Advil is one of the most popular brands of Ibuprofen.

According to Bone, within a few days her son Carlton had landed in the emergency room of the local hospital with a continuing fever. A gynecologist, Bone jumped onto the next plane to Virginia to be with her son, who was subsequently transferred to the Duke University Medical Center.

Bone describes arriving at Duke University ahead of her son, and noting when the ambulance pulled up that Carlton was seen to have developed a rash, was red from head to toe and looked every bit "like a human cherry tomato."

The eventual diagnosis was Stevens Johnson Syndrome, although it was not mentioned if the diagnosis was specifically Ibuprofen SJS. Nonetheless, Carlton was diagnosed with the life-threatening allergic reaction that soon saw him transferred to intensive care, hallucinating from the combination of fever and pain medication, fighting for his life.

Just a week prior, according to his mother, Carlton was attending boarding school in Virginia and enjoying life as a typical 17-year-old.

"Back in medical school I recalled reading about SJS, but the pictures of those suffering from it were so awful that I was relieved to know that as a gynecologist I would never take care of an SJS patient," Bone writes.

This story has a happy ending. Carlton recovered after five weeks of treatment, and is reported to be almost back to normal save for occasional blurred vision, which his mother says is treatable. It is not known if Ibuprofen has been identified as the root trigger for the young man's Stevens Johnson Syndrome, or if Advil was involved.

What is known is that various over-the-counter (OTC) medications have been found, in rare cases, to trigger SJS in otherwise healthy individuals. Plaintiffs filing an Ibuprofen lawsuit have noted while prescription versions of Ibuprofen such as Motrin have contained warnings about the potential for SJS, OTC versions have not, until just recently. Thus, plaintiffs have taken manufacturers to task over allegations that risks were not properly or thoroughly articulated to consumers.


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