Khaliah Shaw, 26, told Atlanta TV News station 11-Alive that "everything was okay" for the first two weeks after she began taking the antidepressant lamotrigine. Then blisters broke out all over her body, accompanied by excruciating pain.
"I felt like I was on fire," Shaw told 11-Alive, which reported that Shaw's fingernails fell off, her sweat glands "melted" and she was placed in a medically induced coma while her skin slowly peeled off for five weeks.
Doctors diagnosed Shaw with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), a serious and rare skin disorder that requires hospitalization, often in a burn unit.
“It essentially causes your body to burn from the inside out and you pretty much just melt,” Shaw told 11-Alive. Shaw's previously flawless skin is now "burned and scarred," she is gradually losing her vision, her fingernails will never grow back and her sweat glands are gone, 11-Alive reported.
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is typically caused by a severe allergic reaction to a medication, usually beginning with blistering, severe peeling and open sores. Other SJS symptoms include infections, loss of skin and scarring of major organ systems.
SJS, which begins with flu-like symptoms, attacks the skin and mucous membranes and is potentially life-threatening, has also been linked with over-the-counter medications such as Advil, Children's Motrin and Ibuprofen.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has previously linked acetaminophen to SJS, in 2013 issued a Drug Safety Communication (DSC) informing the public that use of acetaminophen has been associated with a risk of rare but serious skin conditions.
READ MORE STEVENS JOHNSON SYNDROME (SJS) LEGAL NEWS
Although Shaw's reaction allegedly didn't stem from an over-the-counter drug, her life is forever changed by SJS and the chance of relapse.
“They’re telling me this could happen again, and they’re telling me if it did happen again, that it would be worse,” Shaw told 11-Alive.
Shaw, whose medical bills have already exceeded $3.4 billion, has filed a lawsuit over the alleged pharmaceutical error, according to 11-Alive, which did not name a defendant in the suit.