Possible cefotaxime-induced Stevens-Johnson syndrome

Ann Pharmacother. 2003 Jun;37(6):812-4. doi: 10.1345/aph.1C453.


Objective: To report a case of possible cefotaxime-induced Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS).

Case summary: A 72-year-old woman with an upper urinary tract infection developed erosions and blisters on the skin and the mucous membranes, as well as fever and prostration, soon after the administration of cefotaxime. This presentation is consistent with the features of SJS. Resolution of the clinical manifestations was observed after discontinuation of the drug; all other drugs, infections, or immunologic disorders that could have caused this syndrome were carefully excluded. An objective causality assessment revealed that SJS was possibly associated with the use of cefotaxime.

Discussion: Although cephalosporins have been associated with an increased risk for SJS and cefotaxime has been suspected of being associated with SJS in a previous case-control study, this is the first full report for cefotaxime-related SJS in the literature. An immunologically mediated reaction may be the underlying mechanism.

Conclusions: Although cefotaxime administration seems to be the underlying cause of the SJS observed in our patient, establishment of a definite causal relationship requires additional cases and supportive data.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cefotaxime / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome / chemically induced*
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome / diagnosis*


  • Cefotaxime