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Life-Threatening Skin Rashes (cont.)

What Is the Prognosis for 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.
  • The outlook for Rocky Mountain spotted fever currently is a 5%-10% fatality rate.
  • Meningococcemia has a 10%-14% fatality rate.
  • Necrotizing fasciitis can have a fatality rate as high as 7%-12% in modern medical settings and leave patients with significantly deformed extremities.


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.

Chung, Wen-Hung, Chuang-Wei Wang, and Ro-Lan Dao. "Severe cutaneous adverse drug reactions." Journal of Dermatology 2016: 1-9.

Gregoriou, Stamatis, et al. "Management of pemphigus vulgaris: challenges and solutions."Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology 21 October 2015.

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.

Shaikh, Nissar, et al. "Clinical presentations and outcomes of necrotizing fasciitis in males and females over a 13-year period." Annals of Medicine and Surgery 4 (2015): 355-360.

Takada, Shimon, et al. "Meningococcemia in Adults: A Review of the Literature." Intern Med 55 (2016): 567-572.

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 11/20/2017

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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 »

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