The Difference Between Erythema Multiform and SJS

While Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and Erythema Multiform (EM) are both rare adverse skin reactions, many people seem to find it difficult to understand the differences between the two conditions. I will start by explaining that EM begins by being a milder version of SJS.

EM is referred to as an “acute self-limited skin disease, symmetrically distributed on the extremities with typical and often recurrent concentric ‘target’ lesions.” When it evolves into Erythema Major, the rash includes the mucus membranes. The initial stage of the condition got the name “multiform” because of the many forms that the condition can present itself in. The characteristic rash, for example, is composed of red spots or welts that can sometimes have purple blisters in the middle of them. This rash can show up in the mouth, eyes and other moist surfaces. The herpes virus causes EM.

SJS or TENS is also composed of rashes and blisters in the mucus membranes, but is a far worse variation of the EM. Once patients develop SJS, they will have the same skin rashes and blisters, but they will also experience other symptoms such as blisters all over the body and peeling off of the skin in up to 70 percent or more of the body’s surface. So the difference is in the progression of the symptoms, and not the symptoms themselves. Treatment of SJS or TENS is much like treating a burn victim and is often very painful.

Early Stevens-Johnson syndrome is often confused with EM since the symptoms start out the same. It is only when they progress that a patient can be properly diagnosed with SJS or TENS, which can be life-threatening. While all three conditions begin treatment by first diagnosing the cause of the reaction so that the reaction can stop, only SJS or TENS can require a burn unit stay in the hospital.

If you or a loved one has suffered from SJS or TENS, contact SJS attorney Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I may be able to help you recover money for your injuries.

Share this article

You May Also Like

All Rights Reserved 2016