Most of us are familiar with Skin Cancer, but not many have heard of Stevens Johnson syndrome (SJS). Medical science is still grappling with this disorder which has been observed to be a result of infections that result, of all things, from medication itself.
The Stevens Johnson Foundation has been one of the agencies that has been addressing itself to this disorder which begins as a simple common flue. Only when reddish purplish rashes appear and start spreading with painful blisters is the case diagnosed as the SJS. The ultimate result is that SJS causes you to shed the upper layer of your skin exposing a raw reddish under-skin. While this disorder can strike anywhere on one's body, the eyes and lips seems to be the first and more common parts of the human anatomy to be affected.
There has still not been a breakthrough that can give us a definitive cure for the SJS which is interpreted to be a dermatological emergency. The disorder can afflict anyone, but the Mongoloid patients affected by SJS have been known to be more common. The medical fraternity is grappling with SJS by isolating the affected patient from the drugs that are reported to cause SJS.
Externally an SJS patient may appear to be quite similar to one who has suffered third degree burns. The debate to treat SJS is still centered around replacing the skin and not on preventing the disease itself. Dermatologists and skin specialists have debated and tried replacing the skin through grafting. A patient who is afflicted with SJS normally seems to be having malignant ulcers in her/his mouth.
But then the mouth is not the only place where SJS can strike. Foot-soles, breasts, eyes, cheeks, arms have also been reported to have been afflicted by SJS.
While Swine Flu (H1N1) continues to hog the headlines as did Bird Flu, Mad Cow disease and SARS did some time back, SJS patients are crying out for a remedy (literally!). But like HIV and Cancer, SJS continues to elude any definitive cure. The treatment that is being given currently hovers around making the patient comfortable by isolating her/him and grafting the affected area. Corticosteroids have been tried as one line of Treatment. But then this is fraught with controversies as there was no perceptible recovery seen while leading to complications and endless hospitalization.
Drugs that are being tired include cyclophosphamide and cyclosporine, but without any definitive success. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatment seems to be the only hope. The use of painkillers and anesthesia have been used to make the searing pain bearable for patients. But then these are not remedies for the disease, but for temporary alleviation of the pain it causes.
In case you feel a sensation under your eyes after any medication, you should lose no time in seeking medical attention. An ophthalmologist could start the first round of treatment, as SJS is known to afflict the eyes first and most commonly.
There has so far not been any breakthrough for one single effective cure for SJS. Medical science is as yet only offering prolonged hospitalization to try different remedies while painkillers make the disease bearable. The only definite way out is for patients to avoid all medication permanently.