In one case, a 17-year-old girl, Leanne Howes, reportedly took Zantac - a heartburn medication - to treat irritable bowel syndrome. Shortly afterwards, she developed Stevens Johnson Syndrome, in which she developed an itchy rash that turned into large blisters. Ultimately, according to the Daily Mail (2/20/14), Howes’ skin began to fall off and she was given only a 10 percent chance of survival. She also reportedly developed blisters in her throat and on her tongue. Howes spent weeks in the hospital while on morphine and had to be fed through a tube.
In a different case, a 13-year-old boy, Max Brown, was given ibuprofen for a cold, but reportedly developed Stevens Johnson Syndrome that left him hospitalized for a month during which time he slipped in and out of consciousness. According to the Daily Mail (2/23/14), Max developed initial symptoms of Stevens Johnson Syndrome a day after he began taking ibuprofen.
Stevens Johnson Syndrome is a rare allergic reaction to medication. Initial symptoms can resemble a flu or rash, but quickly become deadly as the patient’s skin begins to come off. Not all patients survive their ordeal with Stevens Johnson Syndrome. Those that do, often suffer permanent effects, including scarring and vision problems.
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The agency also noted that the condition could develop even in cases where the medication had been previously tolerated by the patient. The FDA required the makers of acetaminophen drugs to include a warning on the label about the risk, and noted that such a warning is included on the ibuprofen and naproxen label.