Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) are considered variants of a disease continuum that results in a life-threatening exfoliative mucocutaneous disease. These are categorised as type IV cell-mediated delayed hypersensitivity reactions, and antibiotics are often implicated as a cause. Penicillins and other beta-lactam antibiotics are known to cause both immediate and delayed hypersensitivity reactions. While immediate IgE-mediated cross-reactivity between penicillins and carbapenems is well studied, less information on the risk of type IV delayed cell-mediated cross-reactivity between the two is available. We present a case of meropenem-induced SJS in a patient with documented history of SJS from amoxicillin. There are few cases of cross-reactivity with carbapenems reported in the literature, but based on the potential for life-threatening reaction, it is likely prudent to avoid the use of any beta-lactams in a patient with a history of SJS, TEN or any other severe cutaneous adverse reactions to another beta-lactam antibiotic.
- contraindications and precautions
- drugs: infectious diseases
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Contributors MS: wrote the manuscript and did the literature search for this case, he was also the intern taking care of the patient. CN: helped in writing the case and acquiring pathology images. PB: was the senior resident on the team and guided the whole project. SAS: mentor and expert from infectious disease for the case, she helped revised the manuscript, added additional literature references and corrected multiple drafts of the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Patient consent for publication Parental/guardian consent obtained.
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