• If you are of Asian descent, consider genetic testing before taking certain drugs. If you are of Chinese, Southeast Asian or Indian descent, talk with your doctor before taking carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol). This drug is useful to treat epilepsy, bipolar disorder and other conditions. But people with a gene called HLA-B 1502 have an increased risk of Stevens-Johnson syndrome if they take this drug. The Food and Drug Administration recommends people of Asian ancestry undergo genetic testing before taking carbamazepine.
  • If you've had this condition, avoid the medication that triggered it. If you've had Stevens-Johnson syndrome and your doctor told you it was caused by a medication, avoid that drug and others like it. This is key to preventing a recurrence, which is usually more severe than the first episode and can be fatal.

    Your family members also might want to avoid this drug because some forms of this condition have a genetic risk factor.

Apr. 09, 2011