Man's face 'peels off' after rare condition triggered by his antidepressant

A man had his eyes stitched shut and his face covered in pig skin after suffering a rare reaction to an antidepressant which caused him to 'burn from the inside'.

Jonathan Laird, from Greenfield, Indiana, was prescribed lamotrigine tablets in April 2016 to boost his mood after being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.

Within a month of taking the pills, the 38-year-old was suffering flu-like symptoms and his eyes became so sore it felt as through 'glass was piercing them'.

The symptoms rapidly escalated and he developed red raw sores inside his mouth and lips, as well as at the back of his throat and across his entire body.

Mr Laird went to A&E and was immediately transferred to an intensive care unit where he was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS).

The rare condition causes the immune system to attack healthy skin, mucous, genitals and eyes.

The skin on Mr Laird's face started rotting and flaking off, leaving his flesh exposed and prone to infection. 

Doctors wrapped his face in pig skin grafts, which keep affected wounds sterile before a proper skin graft can be done. They have long been used as a wound dressing in burns patients.

Jonathan Laird, from Greenfield, Indiana, was prescribed lamotrigine tablets in April 2016 to boost his mood after being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder

Jonathan Laird, from Greenfield, Indiana, was prescribed lamotrigine tablets in April 2016 to boost his mood after being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder

The skin on his face started rotting and flaking off due to Stevens-Johnson syndrome, leaving his flesh exposed and prone to infection (pictured wrapped in bandages to protect him from infection)

 The skin on his face started rotting and flaking off due to Stevens-Johnson syndrome, leaving his flesh exposed and prone to infection (pictured wrapped in bandages to protect him from infection)

Mr Laird's horrific injuries caused by the disorder

He was kept in ICU and had his eyes stitched shut

Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), is a disorder that affects the skin, mucous membrane, genitals and eyes. It causes the immune system to attack healthy skin and bodyparts. Doctors wrapped part of his face in pigskin (right) as a wound dressing to prevent infection

SJS often begins with flu-like symptoms, followed by a red or purple rash on the skin that spreads and forms blisters. 

It does the same to the mucous membrane, reproductive organs and eyeballs. 

Mucous membranes are a soft, thin layers of tissue which line the digestive system, the inside of the mouth and nose and the genitals.

When Mr Laird was admitted to hospital, doctors scrambled to save as much of his healthy skin as they could.

They even stitched his eyes shut for two weeks in a bid to protect his eyeballs because the disorder had made them ultra-sensitive to light.

Recalling his ordeal, Mr Laird said: 'When you have Stevens-Johnson Syndrome you basically burn from the inside out. 

'It starts as a rash and then the rash erupts into blisters. 

'They stitched my eyes shut to protect my vision [and] they bound my hands together so I couldn't rip the tube out that was down my throat.

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