Etanercept therapy for toxic epidermal necrolysis

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Aug;71(2):278-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2014.04.044. Epub 2014 Jun 11.


Background: Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) is a severe and potentially lethal drug reaction for which no standard treatment is available.

Objective: To describe a case series of patients with TEN treated with a single dose of etanercept.

Methods: We observed 10 consecutive patients with TEN. For each patient, we recorded the presence of comorbidities and all the drugs recently started (ie, in the last month). In all cases, 50 mg of etanercept was administered in a single subcutaneous injection. The clinical severity of disease was computed using the SCORe of Toxic Epidermal Necrosis (SCORTEN) scale. Using the probabilities of death linked to each level of SCORTEN score, we calculated the expected probability of death in our patients. Healing was defined as complete reepithelialization, and a time to healing curve was then obtained using the Kaplan-Meier method.

Results: All patients promptly responded to treatment, reaching complete reepithelialization without complications or side effects. The median time to healing was 8.5 days.

Limitations: This is a small, uncontrolled case series.

Conclusion: These preliminary results suggest the possibility that tumor necrosis factor-alfa may be an effective target for control of TEN, a dangerous skin condition for which no effective cure has yet been found.

Keywords: adverse drug reaction; etanercept; therapy; toxic epidermal necrolysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Etanercept
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / adverse effects
  • Immunoglobulin G / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Re-Epithelialization
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / therapeutic use*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Time Factors


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Etanercept