Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), and overlap syndrome (SJS-TEN) are rare, serious skin and mucosa break-down conditions frequently associated with antibiotic use. The role of nonprescription medications alone, or in combination with antibiotics in triggering SJS/TEN, is largely unknown. This study summarized data collected from patient surveys about nonprescription and antibiotic use prior to a SJS/TEN diagnosis. The survey was administered online to members of the U.S. SJS Foundation who had been diagnosed with SJS/TEN or were the parent of a child who had been diagnosed with SJS/TEN. Respondents were asked about nonprescription medications taken within the year before diagnosis, and the approximate point in time before diagnosis that they had taken them. They were also asked about specific prescription medications, including antibiotics, that they took before diagnosis. An estimated 4500 patients received an invitation to complete the survey. 251 patients completed it, resulting in a response rate of 5.6%. The mean age of respondents was 43 years (SD (standard deviation) = 17.3) and 70% were female. 32.3% of respondents indicated that a prescription antibiotic triggered their reaction. 14.1% indicated a nonprescription medication had triggered their SJS/TEN, and 18.1% said a nonprescription medication may have triggered their SJS/TEN. 85.5% of respondents said they took a nonprescription medication within three months of their SJS/TEN diagnosis. Of those respondents who reported that an antibiotic triggered their SJS/TEN, 35.2% reported taking a nonprescription medication within the three months prior to their diagnosis. This survey captured valuable information about nonprescription and antibiotic use in SJS/TEN patients. It is important for future studies to estimate the impact of antibiotics on SJS/TEN, and account for nonprescription medication use in that relationship.
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