Continued from Part 1:
Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a rare and unpredictable reaction.
Your doctor may not be able to identify its exact cause, but usually the condition is triggered by a medication or an infection.
Medication and therapy causes
Drugs that can cause Stevens-Johnson syndrome include:
Anti-gout medications, such as allopurinol
Pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve)
Medications to fight infection, such as penicillin
Medications to treat seizures or mental illness (anticonvulsants and antipsychotics)
Infections that can cause Stevens-Johnson syndrome include:
Herpes (herpes simplex or herpes zoster)
Factors that increase your risk of developing Stevens-Johnson syndrome include:
Viral infections. Your risk of Stevens-Johnson syndrome may be increased if you have an infection caused by a virus, such as herpes, viral pneumonia, HIV or hepatitis.
Weakened immune system. If you have a weakened immune system, you may have an increased risk of Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Your immune system can be affected by an organ transplant, HIV/AIDS and autoimmune diseases, such as lupus.
A history of Stevens-Johnson syndrome. If you've had a medication-related form of this condition, you are at risk of a recurrence if you use that drug again.
A family history of Stevens-Johnson syndrome. If an immediate family member has had Stevens-Johnson syndrome or a related condition called toxic epidermal necrolysis, you may be more susceptible to developing Stevens-Johnson syndrome too.
Having a certain gene. If you have a gene called HLA-B 1502, you have an increased risk of Stevens-Johnson syndrome, particularly if you take certain drugs for seizures or mental illness. Families of Chinese, Southeast Asian or Indian descent are more likely to carry this gene.
Stevens-Johnson syndrome complications include:
Secondary skin infection (cellulitis). Cellulitis can lead to life-threatening complications, including sepsis.
Blood infection (sepsis). Sepsis occurs when bacteria from an infection enter your bloodstream and spread throughout your body. Sepsis is a rapidly progressing, life-threatening condition that can cause shock and organ failure.
Eye problems. The rash caused by Stevens-Johnson syndrome can lead to inflammation in your eyes. In mild cases, this may cause irritation and dry eyes. In severe cases, it can lead to extensive tissue damage and scarring that results in blindness.
Damage to internal organs. It's unusual for this condition to affect internal organs. But it may cause inflammation of the lungs, heart, kidneys or liver.
Permanent skin damage. When your skin grows back following Stevens-Johnson syndrome, it may have abnormal bumps and coloring. And you may have scars. Lasting skin problems may cause your hair to fall out, and your fingernails and toenails may not grow normally.
Continued in Part 3