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Antidepressants Blamed for Stevens Johnson Syndrome

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Detroit, MIThe use of antidepressants has been blamed for a mother developing Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and almost ending her life. The woman, who was prescribed antidepressants to treat depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, was ultimately hospitalized in intensive care with SJS symptoms.

According to Mail Online (6/8/16), Mpho Boadia was prescribed the antidepressants in January 2013. Within a few weeks, she developed a rash over her skin and was diagnosed with chicken pox. After the rash grew worse, Boadia was admitted to the hospital with Stevens Johnson Syndrome - a potentially fatal condition in which medication triggers a severe allergic reaction. Boadia’s family, which includes twin boys, was told she might not survive her ordeal.

Doctors prescribed antibiotics and kept Boadia in isolation to help her fight the SJS and she ultimately survived her ordeal, but her recovery reportedly took a long time.

Stevens Johnson Syndrome is often triggered by medications such as antibiotics, sometimes medications that were previously tolerated. Initial symptoms, including fever, sore throat and headache, often mimic chicken pox or flu, which in some cases can lead doctors to prescribe the very medication that caused the reaction. This can result not only in a delay in the patient receiving effective treatment but also a worsening of the condition.

SJS and its more severe form, toxic epidermal necrolysis, can be fatal. Patients who survive often develop life-long complications, including blindness, organ damage and permanent scarring.

Lawsuits have been filed in the United States against drugmakers accused of not adequately warning patients about the risk of SJS linked to their medications. Plaintiffs claim that although some drugs carry labels warning about an allergic reaction, those labels do not highlight how dangerous SJS can be or what symptoms to watch for. Some lawsuits have resulted in awards of millions of dollars for patients who suffered permanent injuries after developing Stevens Johnson Syndrome.

Because patients may develop a reaction after using a previously tolerated medication, some may continue taking the medicine without realizing it caused the allergic reaction. Among drugs reportedly linked to SJS - which is a rare complication - are Motrin and Children’s Motrin.

Nigeria recently faced concern over an SJS outbreak after one person died and another was hospitalized with what officials believed was SJS. Professor Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health in Nigeria, urged citizens to remain calm.

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READER COMMENTS

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Hi, my mother had toxic epidermal necrolysis secondary to allopurinol intake. I just want to know if the doctor who prescribed that medicine can be blame for having that decease. The result of her uric acid is 425 and the doctor prescribed to take allopurinol 300mg for 30 days. Kindly response to my question. Thanks

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