Poly student dies from allergic reaction to acne medication

PHOTO: Poly student dies from allergic reaction to acne medication

SINGAPORE - A polytechnic student has died from a severe allergic reaction to acne medication, Chinese evening daily Shin Min reported on Wednesday.

The Malaysian student from Nanyang Polytechnic passed away on Tuesday after struggling in hospital for about a week, the report said.

18-year-old Guo Fu Lun (transliteration) had taken some acne medication. However he developed a fever soon after, on Jan 2, the report said.

Thinking that it was an ordinary fever, Guo only took some medication. About two or three days passed by before he saw a doctor, who recommended that he go to a hospital for a check-up.

Guo took the doctor's advice and went to Singapore General Hospital that same day, on Jan 5. He never came out.

The Chinese daily said the student had contracted Steven-Johnson Syndrome (SJS). It is a rare and serious disorder in which the skin and mucous membranes react severely to a medication or infection, according to Mayo Clinic, a consumer website that offers health information.

SJS often starts with flu-like symptoms, followed by a painful red or purplish rash that will spread and blister. It is a medical emergency that requires hospitalisation, the website said.

The deceased's girlfriend said that SJS had weakened Guo's immune system, causing him to be easily susceptible to infections. As a result his vital organs were badly damaged. He also contracted a heart infection that hampered blood circulation.