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Korean J Intern Med. 2012 Jun;27(2):203-10. doi: 10.3904/kjim.2012.27.2.203. Epub 2012 May 31.

Causes and treatment outcomes of Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis in 82 adult patients.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.



Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) are predominantly known as medication-induced diseases. However, at our institution, we have experienced more cases of non-drug-related SJS and TEN than expected. Therefore, we studied the difference between non-drug-related and drug-related SJS and TEN in terms of clinical characteristics and prognoses.


The etiologies, clinical characteristics, and treatment outcomes for 82 adult patients with SJS and TEN were retrospectively reviewed.


A total of 71 patients (86.6%) were classified as having SJS, and the other 11 patients (13.4%) were classified as having TEN. Drug-related cases were more common (43, 52.4%) than non-drug-related cases (39, 47.6%). Anticonvulsants (12/82, 14.6%) and antibiotics (9/82, 11%) were the most common causative medications. Anemia (p = 0.017) and C-reactive protein of ≥ 5 mg/dL (p = 0.026) were more common in the drug-related cases than in the non-drug-related cases. Intravenous steroid therapy was used as the main treatment regimen (70/82, 85.4%). Of the 82 patients, 8 (9.8%) died during the clinical course. A univariate analysis for mortality showed statistical significance for the following: kidney function abnormality, pneumonia, hemoglobin of < 10 g/dL, and combined underlying diseases. In a multivariate analysis, only pneumonia was statistically significant (odds ratio, 25.79; p = 0.009).


Drugs were the most frequent cause of these diseases. However, non-drug-related causes also contributed to a significant proportion of cases. Physicians should keep this in mind when documenting patient history. In addition, early recognition and treatment may be important for better outcomes.


Epidermal necrolysis, toxic; Etiology; Prognosis; Stevens-Johnson syndrome

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