Background: Stevens–Johnson syndrome (SJS) can be a severe and life-threatening reaction with many potential causes, including multiple medications used in HIV care and treatment. Specific risk factors, especially in children, are not currently well-understood.
Methods: We describe a series of cases of SJS that occurred from 2006 to 2010 in an HIV-focused clinic in Mbabane, Swaziland. The electronic medical and pharmacy records of all pediatric patients <20 years old were reviewed to identify cases of SJS. Patient demographic, immunosuppression and outcome data were also collected.
Results: A total of 19 cases of SJS were documented. Eighty-four percent of cases were attributed to nevirapine (NVP) exposure whereas the remaining cases were caused by cotrimoxazole (11%) and efavirenz (5%). Median symptom onset was 22 days after initiation of the offending medication (interquartile range = 14–25 days). At time of SJS, 84% had advanced or severe immunosuppression. Forty-two percent of patients required hospitalization, and no SJS-associated deaths were known to occur. Use of efavirenz was attempted in 8 NVP-associated cases after SJS resolution and was successful in all except 1.
Conclusions: SJS occurrence was rare in this population, with the majority of cases being associated with NVP. All occurred within 32 days of medication initiation, providing a target window for intensified monitoring and anticipatory guidance. SJS can occur in children at any age, with any level of immunosuppression, and can occur during the lead-in dosing period of NVP.