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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Stevens-Johnson syndrome

Other Names for this Disease
  • Erythema multiforme major
  • SJS
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What causes Stevens-Johnson syndrome?

The exact cause of Stevens-Johnson syndrome is unknown in 25 to 30% of cases.[1][2][3][4] In those cases in which the cause can be determined, it is believed to be related to an adverse allergic drug reaction. Almost any drug--but most particularly sulfa drugs--can cause Stevens-Johnson syndrome. The allergic reaction to the drug may not occur until 7-14 days after first using it. Stevens-Johnson syndrome can also be preceded by a viral infection, such as herpes or the mumps.[1] In rare cases, Stevens-Johnson syndrome may be caused by an illness or bone marrow transplantation.[2][3]
Last updated: 6/11/2013

  1. Facts About The Cornea and Corneal Disease. National Eye Institute (NEI). 2010; Accessed 3/15/2010.
  2. Roujeau JC. Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Orphanet. 2009; Accessed 3/15/2010.
  3. Stevens-Johnson syndrome. 2009; Accessed 3/15/2010.
  4. Zieve D, Eltz DR. Erythema multiforme. MedlinePlus. 2010; Accessed 3/15/2010.