Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis: literature review

 Egle Janusonyte1

1Vilnius University, Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius, Lithuania


Background and aim. Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis are rare life-threatening conditions caused by a delayed hypersensitivity skin reaction manifesting through large body surface area epidermal detachment. This condition can occur at any stage of life. In up to 80 % of cases, it develops due to medication such as antibiotics and antiepileptic drugs use, however, it can also be induced by infections. It is crucial to urgently provide supportive care to the patient and to consider possible immunomodulatory therapy measures currently debated on in clinical communities, as well as to transfer the patient to burns treatment unit, if possible. The aim of this literature review is to provide an overview of most recent data in terms of treatment and care as well as possible complications and prognosis in patients with Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis.

Materials and methods. The literature review was conducted through the PubMed search system with combination of the terms ‘Stevens-Johnson syndrome’, ‘toxic epidermal necrolysis’, ‘supportive treatment’, and ‘immunomodulatory therapy’. In total, 38 publications were overviewed, the majority of the publications analysed were published over past 10 years with additionally reviewed first historical descriptions of these conditions as well as international classification that is still used.

Results. Following extensive literature review, the aetiology, diagnostics, supportive and immunomodulatory treatment recommendations are introduced, most common complications and prognosis are described.

Keywords. Stevens-Johnson syndrome; toxic epidermal necrolysis; supportive treatment; immunomodulatory therapy.