Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS) syndrome is a severe and potentially life-threatening adverse reaction to certain medications. It is characterized by a combination of skin rash, fever, and internal organ involvement, along with an increase in a type of white blood cell called eosinophils.
Symptoms of DRESS syndrome typically begin within 2 to 6 weeks of starting the medication that triggered the reaction. The most common symptoms include:
- Skin rash: This is typically a widespread, red or purple rash that may be raised and itchy. It may also include blisters or ulcers. The rash can be severe and disfiguring.
- Fever: A fever of 38 degrees Celsius or higher is common in DRESS syndrome.
- Lymph node enlargement: Swollen lymph nodes are often found in the neck, armpit, or groin.
- Eosinophilia: This is an increase in the number of eosinophils in the blood. Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell that is involved in the body’s immune response.
Other symptoms that may be present in DRESS syndrome include:
- Abdominal pain
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Weight loss
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- Pneumonitis (inflammation of the lung)
- Hepatitis (inflammation of the liver)
DRESS syndrome is a medical emergency and requires prompt treatment to prevent serious complications. The first step in treating DRESS syndrome is to discontinue the medication that triggered the reaction.
Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, are often used to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. These medications can help control the symptoms of DRESS syndrome and prevent further organ damage.
Immunosuppressive drugs, such as azathioprine or cyclosporine, may also be used to suppress the immune system. These medications can help prevent a recurrence of DRESS syndrome.
Antihistamines and anti-inflammatory medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also be used to relieve itching and inflammation.
In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary for close monitoring and supportive care. This may include IV fluids, oxygen therapy, and other treatments to support organ function and manage symptoms.
It is important to note that DRESS syndrome can be fatal in some cases. Therefore, early recognition and prompt treatment are essential to prevent serious complications and improve outcomes.
In summary, DRESS syndrome is a rare but serious adverse reaction to certain medications. It is characterized by a combination of skin rash, fever, and internal organ involvement, along with an increase in eosinophils. Treatment for DRESS syndrome typically involves discontinuing the medication that triggered the reaction, and the use of corticosteroids, immunosuppressive drugs, antihistamines, and anti-inflammatory medications to control symptoms and prevent further organ damage. Early recognition and prompt treatment are essential to prevent serious complications and improve outcomes.