Grieving mothers seek to raise awareness of a severe, adverse, delayed, and potentially deadly drug reaction — DRESS Syndrome
RICHMOND, VA, July 12, 2022 — When two mothers living on opposite coasts connected over losing their teenage daughters to DRESS Syndrome, they knew they had a special bond. Tasha Tolliver of Richmond, VA, and Nancy Szakacsy of Los Angeles, CA were working to raise awareness of a rare and relatively unknown disease. So, they joined efforts and formed a nonprofit — and subsequently created National DRESS Syndrome Day. Tolliver and Szakacsy hope that by instituting this day, they can inform both the patient and medical communities about DRESS, and ultimately, save lives.
“We never expected that the antibiotics our daughters were taking for acne would end their lives. DRESS is a debilitating, life-altering illness.” ~ T. Tolliver
“We created National DRESS Syndrome Day as a way to honor our daughters whom we lost to DRESS. We also aim to raise awareness and bring people together in what can otherwise be a very isolating, scary experience,” explains Tasha Tolliver who is the executive director of the DRESS Syndrome Foundation based in Richmond, VA.
“DRESS Syndrome differs from other reactions and is at risk of being overlooked, primarily because it’s not something that comes on right away,” explains Dr. Elizabeth J. Phillips, Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “It’s something that takes several weeks often to become apparent. It’s this lack of immediate connection that really fools a lot of health care providers.”
Dr. Phillips is the lead medical advisor for the DRESS Syndrome Foundation. She is also an international leading researcher on DRESS Syndrome and is director of the Center for Drug Safety and Immunology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center: https://medsites.vumc.org/centerfordrugsafetyandimmunology/overview.
National DRESS Syndrome Day takes place each year on July 16. This year, The DRESS Syndrome Foundation encourages patient and medical communities to unite in creating awareness. Among other actions, they will recognize medical professionals as “DRESS Heroes” and invite patients to share their personal experience with DRESS. “Patients and anyone who prescribes medicine or crosses a patient’s path can all learn from each other,” insists Tolliver. “This is how we make progress on an under-recognized and under-treated disease.” To join us, learn more at: https://www.dresssyndromefoundation.org/dresssyndromeday.
What is DRESS?
Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms
• A severe, adverse, hypersensitivity, delayed (2-8 weeks) drug reaction that can occur from taking one of over 50
prescription drugs like antibiotics and anticonvulsants.
• 5 prescription drugs account for over 50% of cases: Allopurinol, Carbamazipine, Lamotrigine, Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim (Bactrim) and Vancomycin.
• One in every 1,000 to 1 in every 10,000 prescription drug exposures will result in DRESS.
• 10% of people with DRESS will die.
• DRESS usually begins with rash, fever lymphadenopathy, and facial swelling; and leads to blood abnormalities and organ
injury, typically of the liver, kidneys, lungs and heart. It can result in long-term autoimmune complications.
• Some people are genetically predisposed to get DRESS from certain drugs, yet it’s difficult to predict who’s at risk.
The D.R.E.S.S Syndrome Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Richmond, Virginia. They are a collaborative network of patients, families, researchers and physicians dedicated to educating about severe adverse drug reactions, while advocating for the education and advancement of research, treatments and prevention. They serve patients and their loved ones worldwide.
Learn more at: https://www.dresssyndromefoundation.org