Successful Use of Cyclosporin A for Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis in Three Children

Pediatr Dermatol. 2017 Sep;34(5):540-546. doi: 10.1111/pde.13236.


Background/objectives: Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) are medical emergencies. Mainstays of treatment include removal of the offending agent, supportive care, and wound care. The use of immunosuppressive agents such as corticosteroids and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) is controversial. Some case reports and small studies report the successful use of cyclosporin A (CsA) for SJS/TEN in halting disease progression, fostering reepithelialization, and reducing mortality.

Objective: To report on the efficacy of cyclosporine A in the treatment of SJS/TEN in three pediatric patients.

Methods: We describe three pediatric patients seen at a tertiary care hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, diagnosed with SJS/TEN confirmed by skin biopsy who were successfully treated with CsA with improvements seen in time to cessation of disease progression or new lesion formation, reepithelialization, and duration of hospital stay.

Results: The average time cessation of disease progression or new lesion formation after CsA administration was 2.2 days (range 1.5-3 days) and average time to remission or reepithelialization was 13 days (range 10-15 days). The average length of hospital stay was 11.7 days (range 4-19 days).

Conclusions: We describe three pediatric patients treated successfully with CsA and provide evidence for the use of cyclosporine in children with SJS/TEN. These results further support previous observations that CsA use for SJS/TEN produces consistently favorable outcomes. The results in this case series are limited by their observational nature. Additional trials are needed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of CsA use in children.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Boston
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Infant
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Skin / pathology
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cyclosporine