Stevens-Johnson Syndrome

Photomed Laser Surg.  2011 Jan;29(1):67-9. Epub 2010 Oct 25.

Laser phototherapy for Stevens-Johnson syndrome: a case report.

Simões A, de Freitas PM, Bello-Silva MS, Tunér J, de Paula Eduardo C.


Centro de Pesquisa em Biologia Oral, Departamento de Materiais Dentários, Faculdade de Odontologia, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.



Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) is a life-threatening dermatosis characterized by epidermal sloughing and stomatitis. We report the case of a 7-year-old boy in whom laser phototherapy (LPT) was highly effective in reversing the effects of an initial episode of SJS that had apparently developed in association with treatment with phenobarbital for a seizure disorder. The patient was first seen in the intensive care unit (ICU) of our institution with fever, cutaneous lesions on his extremities, trunk, face, and neck; mucosal involvement of his genitalia and eyes (conjunctivitis); ulcerative intraoral lesions; and swollen, crusted, and bleeding lips. He reported severe pain at the sites of his intraoral and skin lesions and was unable to eat, speak, swallow, or open his mouth.


Trying to prevent and minimize secondary infections, gastric problems, pain, and other complications, the patient was given clindamycin, ranitidine, dipyrone, diphenhydramine (Benadryl) drops, and morphine. In addition, he was instructed to use bicarbonate solution and Ketoconazole (Xylogel) in the oral cavity. Because of the lack of progress of the patient, the LPT was selected.


At 5 days after the initial session of LPT, the patient was able to eat gelatin, and on the following day, the number and severity of his intraoral lesions and his labial crusting and swelling had diminished. By 6 days after his initial session of LPT, most of the patient’s intraoral lesions had disappeared, and the few that remained were painless; the patient was able to eat solid food by himself and was removed from the ICU. Ten sessions of LPT were conducted in the hospital. The patient underwent three further and consecutive sessions at the School of Dentistry, when complete healing of his oral lesions was observed.


The outcome in this case suggests that LPT may be a new adjuvant modality for SJS complications.