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Daypro® & Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS)

January 4, 2021

Classified as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), Daypro® (generically known as oxaprozin and also sold under the brand name Duraprox®) is a prescription tablet used to treat the chronic pain associated with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Daypro® was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1992, following three previous rejections due to a lack of evidence proving that Daypro® was superior to drugs already on the market. Daypro® is manufactured by Pharmacia and it is currently still on the market.

Despite being an effective pain reliever and anti-inflammatory medication, Daypro® has reportedly bee linked to a range of serious, potentially fatal side effects—namely in females and patients with low body weights. In fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that Daypro® resulted in more cases of Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrosis syndrome (TENS) than any other prescription medication on the market within the first year this drug was available to Americans. Between 1993 and 1997, Daypro® was reportedly linked to four deaths as a result of complications due to serious skin reactions, such as SJS and TENS.

Daypro®-Induced Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Defined

Classified as a less serious form of TENS, Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a severe skin condition in which the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis) separates from the middle layer of skin (dermis) and the cells die off. One of the leading causes of the severe and potentially fatal conditions is drug reaction. Specific drugs that have been linked to this type of reaction include Daypro®, Duraprox® and other NSAIDs.

Consequently, it's crucial that patients understand the symptoms so they know when to seek emergency medical care. The earlier the condition is diagnosed and treated (via ICU care, IV fluids, antibiotics, etc.), the better chances a patient has for survival.

Symptoms of Stevens-Johnson syndrome may include a combination of the following:

  • coughing
  • diarrhea and vomiting
  • fevers
  • headaches
  • facial swelling
  • purple-colored skin blisters and rashes
  • sores and swelling of the mucous membranes (i.e. those in the mouth, eyes, nose, genitals and lower respiratory tract)
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