Bullous pemphigoid

Bullous pemphigoid

Chris Schach

Author Bio -

Key Points
*Cause is unknown, but may be related to immune system disorders
*Consists of blisters on affected areas, usually located on the arms, legs, or trunk
*Can last up to 6 years

Bullous pemphigoid is a condition of unknown cause with results in the formation of blisters on the skin. The condition can range in severity from no symptoms whatsoever, to mild irritation and redness, to multiple blisters. These lesions are generally located on the arms, legs or trunk. In 30% of cases, blisters may even form in the mouth. As is normal, blister may break and ulcerate. Other symptoms can include itching, bleeding gums, and rashes.

Bullous pemphigoid is thought to be related to disorders which affect the immune system, though the cause is unknown. It is generally found in the elderly, though it does very rarely affect young people. The condition can last up to 6 years, and will generally resolve within that time.

    Differential Diagnosis (Other conditions with similar appearance)

Demphigus vulgaris
Porphyria cutanea tarda
Erythema multiforme
Toxic epidermal necrolysis
Staphylococcus scalded skin syndrome
Dermatitis herpetiformis

Diagnosis
Key Points
*Diagnosis based on skin appearance
*Other testing including biopsy of the affected area or blood tests will be performed to confirm and assist in diagnosis

Bullous pemphigoid is generally diagnosed based on appearance. Biopsy of the affected area and blood tests will be performed after the initial diagnosis to confirm it.

Treatment
*Goal of treatment is to control symptoms and prevent infection
*Early forms may be treated with prescription creams
*Antibiotics may be prescribed in mild cases

Bullous pemphigoid is often treated with corticosteroids of varying forms. While injection and orally administered forms are used most often, early forms of the disorder may be treated by use of a topical corticosteroid. In milder cases, tetracycline may be prescribed, in some cases in conjunction with niacin. Health care professionals may also prescribe immunosuppressants or even chemotherapy in more severe cases.

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