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Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is toxic epidermal necrolysis?

Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) is a rare skin condition that causes you to lose your outer layer of skin. It may look like a second-degree burn. You may lose 30% of your skin or more.

What causes TEN?

TEN is usually caused by new medicines that you started to take within the past 3 weeks. The most common medicines include antibiotics, seizure medicines, antiretrovirals, and certain NSAIDs. Other causes may include infections, graft versus host disease, or vaccinations.

What are the signs and symptoms of TEN?

The first symptoms include fever, tiredness, cough, itchy skin, muscle aches, and sore throat. You will then develop redness, swelling, blisters, and wounds on your lips and in your mouth. These symptoms develop 1 to 3 days before skin lesions appear. The redness and blisters will then spread to the rest of your body. You may have painful blisters in your eyes and genitals. You may also have sores in your stomach, lungs, and intestines. The blisters and sores may be very painful and feel like they are burning. When your skin dies, it may fall off in large amounts. Your skin will be dark red and look badly burned.

How is TEN diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider can diagnose your condition by looking at your skin. Tell him if you have started any new medicine. You may need a skin biopsy to confirm that you have TEN.

How is TEN treated?

The goal of treatment is to find out which medicine is causing your condition and stop it. You will be taken to a hospital and placed in a burn unit or intensive care unit.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

How can I manage my symptoms?

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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