The exact cause of Stevens-Johnson syndrome can't always be identified. Usually, the condition is an allergic reaction in response to medication, infection or illness.

Medication causes

Medications are most often the cause of Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Drugs commonly associated with Stevens-Johnson syndrome include:

  • Anti-gout medications, such as allopurinol
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), often used to treat pain
  • Penicillins, which are used to treat infections
  • Anticonvulsants, which are used to treat seizures

Infectious causes

Infections that can cause Stevens-Johnson syndrome include:

  • Herpes (herpes simplex or herpes zoster)
  • Influenza
  • HIV
  • Diphtheria
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis

Other causes

In some cases, Stevens-Johnson syndrome may be caused by physical stimuli, such as radiation therapy or ultraviolet light.

Apr. 09, 2011