Kayla Nelson: Utah woman, 23, diagnosed with rare disorder has burn-like reaction from anxiety medication

Kayla Nelson: Utah woman, 23, diagnosed with rare disorder has burn-like reaction from anxiety medication
Kayla Nelson is still at the University of Utah Burn Center where she is in extreme pain after suffering a fatal reaction to Lamotrigine (GoFundMe)

Warning: Graphic content, readers’ discretion advised

UTAH: A 23-year-old woman named Kayla Nelson from Utah is currently fighting for her life after experiencing a potentially fatal reaction to her anxiety medication. Nelson had been taking Lamotrigine, a medication prescribed to treat her depression and anxiety, for just three weeks when she began noticing alarming symptoms that prompted her to seek emergency medical attention on May 4.

Nelson was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a rare and serious disorder, that caused her skin to detach and erupt in excruciating red blisters all over her body. Presently confined to the University of Utah Burn Center, the 23-year-old endures intense pain that has left her bedridden with the aid of a feeding tube. In order to prevent vision loss, Nelson underwent eyelid surgery and is additionally grappling with panic attacks as she contemplates her uncertain future, according to her family.


AMERICA'S TRANQ CRISIS: Addict open up on devastating effects of flesh-eating drug taking over LA

Mason Dark: TikTok challenge nearly kills footballer who is 'unrecognizable' after homemade blowtorch explodes

Kayla Nelson, 23, was diagnosed with a rare, serious disorder known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome after taking the drug Lamotrigine for her anxiety (GoFundMe)

Kayla Nelson's battle against Stevens-Johnson Syndrome

Nelson is expected to remain in the burn unit for several weeks, where medical professionals are treating the severe burn-like reactions covering approximately 30 percent of her body. Even after being released from the burn unit, Nelson's road to recovery remains long and arduous, as described by her mother, Lindsey Ewing, who labeled the experience as "horrific." "It's a lot on a 23-year-old because she's just getting going with her life," Ewing said. "She has her life in front of her but now we have to deal with this, just because she wanted to get her mental health stabilized," as per Daily Mail

Ewing expressed gratitude for the positive impact medication has had on some individuals' mental health but issued a warning about the potential risks associated with Lamotrigine. "Why have this chance of a family member or a friend or anyone go through this," she asked. Ewing emphasized the importance of seeking immediate medical attention if a rash appears while taking the medication. 


Kayla Nelson's horrific recovery journey

A GoFundMe that was created by Nelson's close friends to help with the costs of medical bills highlighted that the "reactions don't just stop on the outside" - and that Nelson has "severe reactions in her mouth, throat, eyes, ears, and it is also damaging her liver." "The disease starts as a small rash, and develops into blisters, and the blisters begin to peel, leaving her with exposed tissue, and a high likelihood of infections, not to mention unimaginable pain."

In recent updates shared on May 11 and May 12, the fundraiser revealed that Nelson experienced a panic attack the night before her eye surgery due to the loss of skin on the inside of her eyelids. "To stop the risk of injuring her eyes and loss of vision, they are going in and putting synthetic skin underneath her eyelids," read the page. An update on her condition revealed, Nelson "received a graft of placental tissue in each of her eyes, due to the damage that has been caused in her eyelids, as a measure to keep her vision protected."


"She wasn’t excited, but her Mother and Father gave her the comfort and reassurance that she needed to be strong and power through it. The operation was very successful, and she was already looking around and pointing things out in her room, almost immediately after surgery! Her pain was managed well thanks to her incredible ICU nurses, and she FINALLY had a peaceful night of rest after a full week! We thank you all for the incredible support for Kayla during her journey of healing. We ask that you continue to pray for Kayla, and share/donate if you wish to contribute!❤️❤️" the fundraiser read. 

What is Stevens-Johnson syndrome?

Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) is an uncommon and severe disorder affecting the skin and mucous membranes. "It's usually a reaction to medication that starts with flu-like symptoms, followed by a painful rash that spreads and blisters," according to mayoclinic.org. "Then the top layer of affected skin dies, sheds and begins to heal after several days." 


Due to its severity, Stevens-Johnson syndrome necessitates immediate medical attention and typically requires hospitalization. Treatment focuses on identifying and discontinuing the causative medication, managing wound care, alleviating pain, and minimizing complications as the affected skin regenerates. The recovery process can span from weeks to months. "A more severe form of the condition is called toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). It involves more than 30% of the skin surface and extensive damage to the mucous membranes," as per the website. 

Share this article:

 Kayla Nelson: Utah woman, 23, suffers severe burn-like allergic reaction from anxiety medication