Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis

Also known as: TEN, acute toxic epidermolysis.

What is toxic epidermal necrolysis?

Toxic epidermal necrolysis is a dangerous life-threatening skin disorder characterized by the skin blistering and sloughing off in large pieces, leading to large raw exposed areas that are prone to infection.

What causes toxic epidermal necrolysis?

In most cases, toxic epidermal necrolysis is caused by a reaction to a new medication (in the first 8 weeks of treatment) such as antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or anticonvulsant treatments for seizures. Occasionally a vaccine, an herbal medicine or contact with a chemical may trigger the disease.

What are the symptoms of toxic epidermal necrolysis?

Untreated the painful red damaged oozing skin areas can spread fast (within 3 days) to include the eyes, mouth and genitals. A high fever, flu like symptoms, trouble swallowing or fatigue and muscle/joint pains with photophobia (painful eyes when exposed to light) and fluid and salt losses occurs. Secondary infection can complicate the skin condition.

What are toxic epidermal necrolysis care options?

Infants/children with toxic epidermal necrolysis require hospitalization/Intensive Care unit management. Affected children are treated like burn victims- including eye management, isolation to prevent infection, protective bandages, intravenous or fluids/salts given by a tube through the nose to the stomach (nasogastric tube), antibiotics and intravenous immunoglobulin G.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: March 29, 2021 03:35 PM

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Short for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, refers to a class of medications that reduce inflammation, pain and fever. Learn more