Thursday, 21 January 2010

The Perils of Tamiflu - Blisters & Blindness

A nineteen year old, who was wrongly diagnosed with swine flu by the controversial NHS helpline, has been left blinded after taking Tamiflu.

After taking three of the ten pills, Samantha Millard had a severe allergic reaction resulting in Stevens Johnson syndrome and the life-threatening toxic epidermal necrolysis. She was covered in a red rash, blisters, her skin peeled off and she lost her sight. The blisters were so severe she had to have her hair shaved off.

Samantha was put on life support within 3 days of starting the tablets and spent a month in hospital.

Samantha said:

‘It’s hard. I can’t bathe myself, I can’t dress myself, I can’t watch films and I can’t read books.

‘I sit in my bedroom with my sunglasses on, curtains closed and the TV on so I can hear it. I don’t know how long it will take for my eyes to heal.

‘I know I’m improving but some days it’s really hard to cope with it. I can’t cry - I have no tears.’

It could take two years for her to recover, she has to use eye drops every hour and she may never regain her sight.


Toxic epidermal necrolysis is a rare and usually severe adverse reaction to certain drugs. History of medication use exists in over 95% of patients with TEN. The drugs most often implicated in TEN are antibiotics such as sulfonamides; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; allopurinol, antiretroviral drugs; corticosteroids; and anticonvulsants such as phenobarbital, phenytoin, carbamazepine, and valproic acid. The condition might also result from immunizations, infection with agents such as Mycoplasma pneumoniae or the herpes virus; and transplants of bone marrow or organs.

Microscopically, TEN causes cell death throughout the epidermis. Keratinocytes, which are the cells found lower in the dermis, specialize in holding the skin cells together, undergo necrosis (uncontrolled cell death).

TEN affects many parts of the body, but it most severely affects the mucous membranes, such as the mouth, eyes, and vagina. The severe findings of TEN are often preceded by 1 to 2 weeks of fever. These symptoms may mimic those of a common upper respiratory tract infection. When the rash appears it may be over large and varied parts of the body, and it is usually warm and appears red. In hours, the skin becomes painful and the epidermis can be easily peeled away from the underlying dermis. The mouth becomes blistered and eroded, making eating difficult and sometimes necessitating feeding through a nasogastric tube through the nose or a gastric tube directly into the stomach. The eyes are affected, becoming swollen, crusted, and ulcerated.

Information taken from wikidoc

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