Diabetes Patients Face Worse Outcomes from Stevens-Johnson Syndrome: Study

Researchers called for doctors to carefully consider a patient's co-morbidity factors when determining their risks from SJS/TEN

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is a painful and debilitating skin reaction that has been linked to side effects of several prescription medications, and a new study suggests that diabetes patients face a high risk of experiencing catastrophic outcomes from the reaction.

According to findings of research published last month in the Journal of Burn Care and Research, individuals with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of experiencing severe SJS complications, including death.

Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) typically results in a severe rash and blistering in the mouth, eyes, ears nose or genital area, essentially causing the skin to burn from the inside out. In severe cases, the condition can progress to toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), which often results in the need for treatment in a hospital burn unit or ICU, and may cause blindness or death.

Diabetes Patients Face Greater Risk of Death from Stevens-Johnson Syndrome

Prior studies have suggested several types of anticonvulsants, antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) may cause Stevens-Johnson syndrome risks.

In this new study, researchers sought to evaluate if several co-existing health conditions, called co-morbidities, increase the risk of severe outcomes in people who develop SJS/TEN.

Researchers from Medical University of South Carolina used TriNetX Research Network, a global medical database, to analyze outcomes of patients with SJS, SJS/TEN Overlap Syndrome, and TEN as well as type 1 and type 2 diabetes, tobacco usage, and overweight/obesity status. They also evaluated outcomes of a control patient group with SJS, SJS/TEN Overlap Syndrome, and TEN, but without any known co-morbidities.

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The study included a total of 8,962 patients, with 6,348 in the control group, 426 in the tobacco use group, 1,186 in the diabetes group, and 1,002 in the obesity group. They then looked for cases where SJS, SJS/TEN Overlap Syndrome, and TEN resulted in pneumonia, sepsis, endotracheal intubation, and mortality.

According to the findings, the diabetes group had a 7.6% higher pneumonia rate, a 4.7% higher sepsis rate, a 1.9% higher endotracheal intubation rate, and a 14.3% higher mortality rate than the control group.

Compared to the obesity group, the diabetes group had a 4.7% higher sepsis rate and an 11.6% higher mortality rate. When evaluated against the tobacco use group, the diabetes group had an 8.1% higher sepsis rate and a 12.4% higher mortality rate.

Researchers recommend healthcare providers carefully evaluate a patient’s medical history and co-morbidity risk factors when determining possible outcomes from SJS, SJS/TEN Overlap Syndrome, and TEN.

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