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Boy Narrowly Survives Stevens Johnson Syndrome Ordeal

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London, EnglandAn eleven-year-old boy narrowly survived his ordeal with Stevens Johnson syndrome after taking ibuprofen, one of the drugs that has been linked to SJS and its more severe form, toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). Meanwhile, Dilantin, another drug that has been linked to SJS and TEN, is the focus of an SJS lawsuit alleging the drug is unreasonably dangerous.

The 11-year-old boy, Calvin Lock developed Stevens Johnson syndrome after taking ibuprofen for a viral infection. According to The Sun (10/30/12), he woke up the next morning with a rash and a swollen ear. Doctors, believing Calvin had chickenpox, gave him more antibiotics but his health continued to worsen. He was taken to hospital where he was ultimately put on life support. Calvin ultimately lost 65 percent of his skin after developing more than 200 blisters.

Although he survived his ordeal, Calvin reportedly had to teach himself to walk again. He lost his hair and fingernails and has severe scaring on his body.

Stevens Johnson syndrome is a severe allergic reaction to medications, including medications such as ibuprofen and Dilantin. Because it is rare, it can be difficult to diagnose and it can occur even with a medication the patient has previously tolerated with no reaction.

Patients experience severe burning over most of their body and frequently lose large portions of their skin. The condition can also lead to blindness or permanent damage to the eyesight, damage to internal organs and, in some cases, death. Initial symptoms are often mistaken for flu-like symptoms, which can compound the problem if the drug that caused the reaction is also given as a treatment during the misdiagnosis.

Lawsuits have been filed against the makers of some medications, alleging they are unreasonably dangerous and patients were not adequately warned about the risks associated with the drugs. According to The Daily Record (2/9/11), as of February 2011, there were approximately 100 lawsuits filed against the maker of Dilantin related to Stevens Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis.

One such lawsuit, filed by the family of Jesse Nichols Jacobson—a nine-year-old who died after taking Dilantin for a few weeks—was reportedly settled for $3.78 million.

Dilantin is an anti-seizure medication made by Pfizer.

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