What is Stevens-Johnson syndrome?
Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a serious disorder of the mucous membranes. It is thought to be an allergic reaction. The exact cause of Stevens-Johnson syndrome can't always be identified. But known causes include:
Stevens-Johnson syndrome has signs and symptoms similar to those of erythema multiforme, a condition causing painful blistering and erosion of the skin and mucous membranes. However, in Stevens-Johnson syndrome, the blistering and systemic symptoms are more severe and extensive — often involving the mouth, nose, eyes, vagina, urethra, lower respiratory tract and digestive tract.
Stevens-Johnson syndrome occurs most often in children and young adults. Signs and symptoms often appear suddenly and include:
A doctor may diagnose Stevens-Johnson syndrome based on:
Treatment of Stevens-Johnson syndrome is directed at the underlying cause, when possible, and at managing the signs and symptoms. Treatment may include:
Recovery may take several weeks. When Stevens-Johnson syndrome is diagnosed within 24 to 48 hours of onset, prompt treatment may shorten the duration of the illness. Up to 15 percent of cases of Stevens-Johnson syndrome result in death.
Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a type of serious allergic or hypersensitivity reaction. Signs and symptoms include blistering and erosion of the skin and mucous membranes, especially of the mouth.
Last Updated: 11/22/2005
© 1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
Terms and conditions of use