Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is usually caused by an adverse or allergic reaction to some form of medication (drug). Signs of a serious SJS reaction that may require prompt medical attention include:

  • rapidly spreading rash on the victim’s face and neck that appears blotchy and causing itching
  • swelling of the victim’s face and tongue
  • painful blisters on mucous membranes (eyes, mouth, nose, genitals)
  • skin sloughing (peeling or shedding)
  • fever, sore throat, cough, dry eyes, and other flu-like symptoms followed by any of the symptoms listed above

View the SJS Media Gallery for images. Note: some of the images are very graphic.

Common Signs and Symptoms of SJS

Flu-like Symptoms

Within 1 to 3 weeks after starting Children’s Motrin or another Ibuprofen product, the patient may experience symptoms that resemble those of the flu. These symptoms may include:

  • general feelings of being ill
  • muscle and joint pain
  • difficulty swallowing
  • extreme sensitivity to light
  • itching and burning under the eyelids


Within 1 to 3 days after flu-like symptoms develop, the patient may develop large blisters on the face and thorax. These blisters will generally spread in a symmetrical pattern. The patient may experience significant pain when touched.

Additional skin effects may include darkening of skin (hyper-pigmentation) or loss of skin color (hypo-pigmentation). While most children with SJS experience this effect, it may lessen somewhat over time.

SJS patients may also suffer disfiguring scars in the form of raised lesions commonly sustained from burns and other deep skin injuries (hypertrophic scars).

Infections and other Wound Complications

A large number of complications can result from large wounds caused by SJS, including:

  • severe pain
  • bleeding
  • elevated risk of bacterial infections
  • kidney failure
  • damage to multiple organs and organ dysfunction
  • imbalanced electrolytes
  • loss of fluids
  • protein deficiency
  • insulin resistance
  • heat loss and hypothermia
  • hypercatabolic syndrome
  • presence of bacteria in blood

Eyes and Vision

SJS sufferers may also experience symptoms related to the eyes and vision within 2 to 6 weeks of starting Children’s Motrin or another Ibuprofen drug. These symptoms can occur in as many as 30 percent of children who survive SJS. These symptoms commonly include severe “pink eye” (conjunctivitis), involving;

  • pain
  • corneal inflammation (keratitis)
  • swollen eyelids
  • inflammation of intra-ocular tissues and cavities (endophthalmitis)
  • sensitivity to light

An even more serious and also common complication is the long-term loss of vision from chronic inflammation of the patient’s cornea.

Urinary Tract

SJS sufferers may also experience urethral inflammation (urethritis) due to bacterial infection. This condition causes painful urination.


Victims of SJS may also suffer pulmonary complications. These may include pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).


Serious gastrointestinal damage can result from SJS. GI complications may include:

  • perforated colon
  • inflamed and painful mouth
  • diarrhea
  • intestinal strictures / stenosis
  • intestinal intussusception (small bowel)
  • ulcers and bleeding of small bowel

Feldman & Pinto no longer handles Children’s Motrin / Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) cases. Please do not contact us about Children’s Motrin or Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS). Thank you.