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 (usually within the first 8 weeks of starting treatment) such as antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or anticonvulsant treatments for seizures. Occasionally a vaccine, a herbal medicine, or contact with a chemical may trigger the disease.

What are the symptoms of toxic epidermal necrolysis?

Skin areas that are painful, red, damaged, or oozing that go untreated can spread fast to the eyes, mouth and genitals, sometimes within just days. A high fever, flu like symptoms, trouble swallowing or fatigue and muscle/joint pains with photophobia or painful eyes when exposed to light, as well as fluid and salt losses can occurs. Secondary infection can complicate the skin condition.

What are the treatments for toxic epidermal necrolysis?

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 via nasogastric tube, antibiotics and intravenous immunoglobulin G.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: August 19, 2021 04:28 PM