Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) is a rare condition that causes large portions of the epidermis, the skin’s outermost layer, to disengage from the layers of skin below. Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) begins with fever, cough and other nonspecific symptoms, and is soon followed by purplish, bloody-looking lesions on the skin and mucous membranes.These early lesions, typically found on the head, neck, and upper chest, soon merge and blister. Sheets of epidermis then begin to detach from the skin layers below. In time, the entire surface of the skin may be involved, with detachment of 100% of the epidermis.
The main cause of TEN is a severe drug reaction. Some investigators believe there may be additional infectious causes. A severe reaction in transplant patients, called graft-vs.-host disease, can also produce TEN. One study reported more than 100 different drugs as causes of TEN. The drugs most commonly implicated, however, include antibacterial sulfonamides such as sulfadiazine, antibiotics such as aminopenicillins and cephalosporins, and anticonvulsants like phenytoin. EN is extremely rare. Researchers estimate that there are 0.2 cases per million users of aminopenicillins and 4.5 cases per million users of sulfonamides.
People with TEN seem to have difficulty metabolizing the offending drug. Some researchers suggest that certain substances that should be cleared from the body instead get deposited on the outer shell of the epidermis, causing an immune response that leads the body to “reject” the skin.
About 25-30% of patients with TEN die. Elderly patients, those with extensive skin lesions, and those with AIDS have the worst prognosis. Widespread systemic infection (sepsis) is the primary cause of death.
Legal Help For Victims Affected By Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN)
If you or a loved one have taken prescription and/or over the counter drugs and has been diagnosed with Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN), please fill out the form at the right for a free case evaluation by a qualified drug side effects attorney or call us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).