Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS)

Disability Benefit and Tax Credit for Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS)



Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) is an atypical adverse skin reaction to medication which is life-threatening and debilitating that potentially sets off lasting damage. It can be extremely fatal, causing an effect that is much like burning the body from the inside out resulting inprompt eruption of skin rashes andfluid-filled blisters and shedding of the skin and mucus membranes. Its most fatal category is the Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TENS) which causes permanent blindness,seizurescoma and worse, death.

During the onset of SJS or TENS, 70% or more of the skin’s surface peels off painfully simply by rubbing, scratching or even by touching it. It will severely affect the ability to perform daily functions such as:

  • Ability to take a bath and wear clothes because the skin will adhere to clothing.
  • It alters the ability to feed, often requiring tube feedings and parenteral nutrition.
  • The person usually assumes a guarded position because of the burning pain, thus, unable to walk
  • It affects the mucous membranes in the ears and eyes affecting hearing and vision.
  • It affects the mucous membranes of the genitalia causing hesitancy in urinating due to pain.
  • SJS and TENS both have a sudden onset, so imagine the emotional horror and distress a person and his family will go through as this frightful disease unfolds itself.



SJS cause agonizing and life threatening symptoms, especially peeling off of large regions of the skin just like a burn victim. It frequently begins with symptoms of nonspecific infection of the upper respiratory tract, as manifested by sore throat, fever and chills, increased heart rate, low blood pressure, pounding headache, muscle pains, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea and body weakness.Involvement of the skin and mucous membranes in different organs cause:

  • Clusters of nonpruriticmucocutaneous lesions
  • (+) Nikolsky sign which is elicited by applying mechanical pressure to skin resulting in blister formation within minutes or hours
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Cough with profuse suppurating sputum
  • Dysuria or an incapability to pass urine
  • Photophobia, blurred vision, corneal ulceration, loss of vision, conjunctivitis and blepharitis
  • Erosive penile scarring,vulvovaginitisand vaginal stenosis
  • Extensive scarring of the skin
  • Emotional trauma: Anxiety, Ineffective coping and Low self-esteem

There is a possibility for recurrence of SJS symptoms with repeated exposure to the offending risk factor. With this in mind, it definitely meets the requirements for making a claim for disability insurance and tax benefits. As a matter of fact, those who suffer from permanent loss of vision secondary to SJS or TENS have a sound case for it.



It is critical to be able to identify the offending agent immediately in order to swiftly halt the patient’s exposure instantaneously. Early elimination of the cause has been linked to promising outcome. Medical management is predominantly symptomatic and supportive as follows:

  • Treat skin lesions as burns and apply similar approach for thermal burns.
  • Recognize signs and symptoms of severe fluid loss, to ensure hemodynamic and airway stability through prompt fluid and electrolyte replacement.
  • Treat underlying diseases and secondary infections.
  • Provide medications to control pain, prevent secondary wound infection
  • Manage oral lesions with mouthwashes and topical anesthetics.
  • Cover areas of raw skin with saline compresses or apply Burow solution.
  • Prescribe tetanus prophylaxis.


Disability Tax Credits for Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS)

Having Stevens-Johnson Syndrome does not necessarily mean the end of the world for you. You can always file for a disability tax certificate with the help of a HandyTax representative. This can possibly entitle you to a tax refund from the Canadian Revenue Agency.