Understanding Johnson-Stevens Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Johnson-Stevens Disease: A Comprehensive Guide


Johnson-Stevens Disease (JSD), also known as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), is a rare but severe skin reaction characterized by blistering and peeling of the skin. It can affect the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, eyes, and genitals. JSD is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires urgent medical attention.


The exact cause of JSD is unknown, but it is believed to be an immune-mediated reaction triggered by certain medications or infections. The most common triggers include:

  • Medications: Antibiotics (sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim, penicillin, carbamazepine), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and anticonvulsants
  • Infections: Herpes simplex virus (HSV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and Mycoplasma pneumoniae

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of JSD typically develop within 1-2 weeks after exposure to the trigger. They may include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Sore throat and difficulty swallowing
  • Red and swollen eyes with sensitivity to light
  • Painful blisters and erosions on the skin, mouth, and genitals
  • Peeling skin
  • Fluid-filled blisters that resemble burns
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain and diarrhea


JSD is diagnosed based on a combination of physical examination, medical history, and skin biopsy. A skin biopsy involves removing a small sample of the affected skin to examine under a microscope.

Differential Diagnosis

JSD can be difficult to differentiate from other skin conditions, such as:

  • Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN): A more severe form of JSD that involves peeling of more than 30% of the skin
  • Bullous pemphigoid: An autoimmune disease characterized by fluid-filled blisters on the skin
  • Erythema multiforme: A less severe skin reaction characterized by target-shaped lesions


Treatment for JSD aims to stop the skin damage and prevent complications. It may include:

  • Stopping the trigger: The first step is to identify and discontinue the suspected trigger medication or infection.
  • Supportive care: Patients with JSD are often admitted to the hospital and given supportive care, such as pain medication, intravenous fluids, and eye care.
  • Corticosteroids: High-dose corticosteroids, such as prednisone, may be used to suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation.
  • Immunoglobulins: Intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIG) contain antibodies that can bind to and neutralize circulating immune complexes, which contribute to skin damage.
  • Biologic agents: Monoclonal antibodies, such as etanercept and infliximab, target specific molecules involved in the inflammatory process.
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat any associated infection.
  • Wound care: Careful wound care is essential to prevent infection and promote healing.


The prognosis of JSD depends on the severity of the skin involvement and the presence of complications. The mortality rate ranges from 5-15%. Patients with extensive skin damage or involvement of internal organs have a higher risk of complications and death.


Complications of JSD can include:

  • Skin infections
  • Lung damage
  • Eye damage
  • Kidney failure
  • ** Liver failure**
  • Sepsis
  • Death


Prevention of JSD is mainly focused on menghindari pemicu yang diketahui. Jika Anda mengalami reaksi kulit setelah minum obat, segera berhenti minum obat tersebut dan hubungi dokter Anda.


Johnson-Stevens Disease is a rare but potentially life-threatening skin reaction. It is caused by an immune-mediated response to certain medications or infections. Early diagnosis and aggressive treatment are crucial to improve outcomes and minimize complications. Patients with JSD require close monitoring and long-term follow-up to manage their condition and prevent recurrence.

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