Anaphylaxis is a sudden, severe, potentially fatal, systemic allergic reaction involving various areas of the body such as the skin, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and cardiovascular system. Unlike Stevens Johnson Syndrome, these symptoms occur within minutes and up to two hours after contact with the allergy-causing substance, but in rare instances may occur up to four hours later.
Angioedema refers to swelling that occurs in the tissue just below the surface of the skin. It generally results from an allergic reaction to either a food or medication. It may be a sign of an underlying condition such as leukemia or Hodgkin’s disease. This is often associated with Stevens Johnson syndrome.
Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis is a life-threatening skin disorder characterized by blistering and peeling of the top layer of skin. This disorder can be caused by a drug reaction to penicillin but has now been linked to Bextra.
Erythema Multiforme (EM) is an acute self-limited eruption characterized by a distinctive clinical eruption, the hallmark of which is the iris or target lesion. EM may be present within a wide spectrum of severity. EM minor represents a localized eruption of the skin with mild or no mucosal involvement, corresponding to the initial description of von Hebra. EM major and Stevens Johnson syndrome (SJS) are more severe mucosal and skin diseases as well as potentially life-threatening disorders.
Generalized Exfoliative Dermatitis is a severe inflammation of the entire skin surface due to a reaction to certain drugs, or as a result of complications from another skin condition. In some cases, lymph node cancer (lymphoma) causes generalized exfoliative dermatitis.
Heart Attacks and Strokes A recent study (October/November 2004) showed that certain patients were at higher risk for heart attacks as a result of taking Bextra. An initial study last year raised similar concerns in the same kinds of patients. Coupling this with the information about Vioxx, anyone taking a Cox-2 inhibitor like Bextra should be concerned. Stevens Johnson Syndrome. Common causes are the drugs including Arava (leflunomide), painkillers, and antibiotics. Bextra has now been linked to this potentially life threatening syndrome. Symptoms of Stevens Johnson Syndrome are blistering, fever, cough, malaise, swelling and lesions of gums, tongue, or lips and excessive tearing or “stickiness” of eyes and sores in the genital tract causing painful urination.