Allergic drug reactions are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States and cause an estimated 150,000 deaths among hospitalized patients each year. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is a deadly drug reaction that affects the skin and mucous membranes, causing severe burning, blistering and sloughing of skin and tissue, and in some cases blindness and death. Drugs that most frequently cause SJS are anti-convulsants (like Phenobarbital), sulfonamides, or sulfa drugs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatorys (NSAIDS) including ibuprofen and Bextra, barbiturates, and antibiotics such as amoxicillin and tetracycline. Until recently, many of the drugs that cause Stevens-Johnson Syndrome did not include warnings of the risk of on their labels. Many who were unaware of the dangerous side effects took these drugs only to develop the painful and potentially fatal Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. If you or a loved one has suffered adverse side effects from a prescription drug or over-the-counter medicine, you have the right to hold the manufacturer liable for negligence. Finding a personal injury or product liability lawyer with the optimum blend of credentials and sensitivity can be difficult. At Munley, Munley & Cartwright, our legal professionals have proven experience and a compassionate sense of duty to protect the rights of personal injury victims. Our attorneys have successfully represented many clients and helped them to secure the compensation to which they are entitled.
While a small percentage of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome cases have been linked to bacterial infections and skin graft problems, the majority are caused by adverse drug reactions (ADRs). In an ADR, the drug acts as an allergen and causes the immune system to respond by producing antibodies and other disease fighting cells. These antibodies actually injure the surrounding cells and cause the physical symptoms of an allergic reaction. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is a life-threatening condition, yet it is often misdiagnosed and under-reported by many physicians. Emergency facilities and doctors often do not recognize the symptoms, causing a delay in treatment and increasing the harmful effects of the reaction. Complications from SJS can include blindness, dry-eye syndrome, esophagus and lung damage, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, arthritis, and chronic fatigue syndrome. In some SJS patients, their pores scar shut, causing them to retain heat. If left untreated, SJS can be fatal.
Symptoms of SJS may include skin rash, swelling or blistering of skin, difficulty breathing, fever, cough, malaise, swelling of face, swelling and lesions of gums, tongue or lips, excessive tearing or “stickiness” of eyes and painful urination caused by sores in the genital tract.
Once Stevens-Johnson Syndrome begins, there is no treatment to stop it. The only course of action is to treat the illness’ many symptoms. Since SJS victims often have serious blistering and ulceration, many SJS patients are referred to Burn Treatment Centers. Treatment consists of immediately ceasing use of the offending drug, maintaining fluids and electrolytes, caring for any mouth or eye lesions and providing proper nutrition. Steroids may also provide benefit, especially when given during the first week of the illness.
At Munley, Munley & Cartwright, we dedicate ourselves to pursuing individuals and corporations that are guilty of negligent behavior. Only an experienced lawyer who knows Pennsylvania’s intricate medical malpractice laws, the court system and individual rights can effectively prove your physical and/or mental injury under state laws. Our personal injury attorneys will evaluate your case thoroughly and explore all potential sources of recovery. We will help you decide your best course of action and we will develop the best legal strategy for demonstrating your claim. If you believe that you have been injured by a defective pharmaceutical product contact ustoday for a free claim evaluation at 1-800-318-LAW1.