Clinical profiles and treatment outcomes of systemic corticosteroids for toxic epidermal necrolysis: A retrospective study

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Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) is an uncommon severe cutaneous adverse reaction. Although controversies remain in the pathophysiology and management of this condition, improvements in survival and morbidity have been observed over the past decade. The aim of the present study was to demonstrate the clinical profiles of TEN in Thai patients and the treatment outcome with dexamethasone pulse therapy assessed by using the Severity of Illness Score for Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (SCORTEN). Medical records of all patients with TEN were collected retrospectively from January 2002 to December 2012. Epidemiological features, etiologies, treatments and clinical outcomes were reviewed. Of 18 patients, the female to male ratio was 1:1 and the mean age was 49.7 years. Cephalosporins (27.8%), phenytoin (16.7%), carbamazepine, sulfonamide drugs and allopurinol (11.1% each) were implicated as leading causes of TEN. Hepatitis was the most frequent complication (77.8%). Pulsed high doses of dexamethasone 1–1.5 mg/kg per day for a short period were administrated in all cases. Two of the 18 patients receiving corticosteroids (SCORTEN 5 and 6) died. The mortality rate was 11% (2/18 patients), however, no patient receiving systemic corticosteroids died if the patients had less than 4 points on SCORTEN. The clinical features of Thai patients with TEN were similar to other reports. In conclusion, in addition to withdrawal of the suspected agent and intensive supportive care, the administration of short-term dexamethasone pulse therapy, particularly during the initial phase, may be beneficial in reducing the mortality rate.

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