Font Size

Life-Threatening Skin Rashes (cont.)

Prognosis of Life-Threatening Skin Rashes

These disorders pose a serious risk for death if they do not get treated. Early treatment and care in a hospital or intensive care unit greatly increases the chance of survival.

  • Pemphigus vulgaris: Despite early treatment, some people with PV will die. Delay in starting treatment makes death more likely. Many people require long-term steroid use to control the disease.
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome: Those with SJS who receive treatment have a high chance of survival.
  • Toxic epidermal necrolysis: Even with treatment, a large percent of people with TEN have a very poor outlook and may die.
  • Toxic shock syndrome: With medical treatment, most people will recover.
  • Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome: SSSS has the most favorable chance of recovery. Only a small percentage of cases result in death.

Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease


Borras-Blasco, J., A. Navarro-Ruiz, C. Borras, et al. "Adverse cutaneous reactions associated with the newest antiretroviral drugs in patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection." J Antimicrob Chemother. 62 (2008): 879-888.

Calabrese, J.R., J.R. Sullivan, C.L. Bowden, et al. "Rash in multicenter trials of lamotrigene in mood disorder: clinical relevance and management." J Clin Psychiatry. 63 (2002): 1012-1019.

Morantz, C. "CDC releases guidelines for treating adverse reactions to smallpox vaccination." Am Fam Physician. 67 (2003): 1827-1834.

Rotunda, A., R.J. Hirsch, N. Scheinfeld, et al. "Severe cutaneous reactions associated with the use of human immunodeficiency virus medications." Acta Derm Venereol. 83 (2003): 1-9.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Smallpox fact sheet - information for clinicians: adverse reactions following smallpox vaccination." 2008. <>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/4/2014
Medical Author:

Must Read Articles Related to Life-Threatening Skin Rashes

Skin Rashes in Children
Skin Rashes in Children Skin rashes in children may be categorized as bacterial, viral, life-threatening, fungal, and parasitic rashes. Oftentimes, the associated symptoms help establi...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Life-Threatening Skin Rashes:

Life-Threatening Skin Rashes - Treatment

What treatment did you receive for your life-threatening skin rash?

Life-Threatening Skin Rashes - Causes

What caused your life-threatening skin rash?

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis »

Described in 1956 by Alan Lyell, toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) is a life-threatening skin disorder that is commonly drug-induced.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary