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What You Need to Know about Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Lawsuits

UPDATED: June 19, 2018

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Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is a serious condition of the skin and mucus membranes that is usually caused by reaction to a drug. See Drug Overview: Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Claims for a list of the type of drugs linked to the condition and a list of individual drugs that are believed to have caused the condition.

Several lawsuits have been filed against the makers of over-the-counter medications for children. The parents of Sabrina Brierton Johnson, who suffered blindness and other health problems after taking Children’s Motrin, sued Motrin’s manufacturer Johnson & Johnson in 2005. Johnson & Johnson had already settled a Stevens-Johnson Syndrome lawsuit filed by the parents of nine-year-old Kaitlyn Langstaff who lived for 20 months after taking Children’s Motrin, unable to speak, breathe on her own, or eat, before she finally died from the effects of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.

Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals had also settled a lawsuit by the parents of a young Texas girl. A Stevens-Johnson Syndrome lawsuit for injury to a 6-year-old Texas boy, who required lung transplant surgery and eyelid surgery, followed the Johnson lawsuit. The Texas boy also suffered temporary paralysis and a great deal of pain during prolonged hospitalization.

There is another report that a three-year-old child, Heather Rose Kiss, died a week after taking a small amount of Children’s Advil, manufactured by Wyeth Consumer Health Care, so companies other than Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary McNeil can be expected to face Stevens-Johnson Syndrome litigation.

The parents in these cases claim that the manufacturers of over-the-counter ibuprofen products, particularly those for children, should have warned about the dangers of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and told users to discontinue the drug if symptoms began. Several products now carry those warnings.

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