General Practice 2022

Herpetiformis dermatitis: what é, symptoms and treatment

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Herpetiformis dermatitis: what é, symptoms and treatment
Herpetiformis dermatitis: what é, symptoms and treatment

Dermatitis herpetiformis, also known as Duhring-Brocq disease or celiac dermatitis herpetiformis, is an autoimmune disease in which the presence of small blisters can be observed, which can be grouped together and cause intense itching, similar to lesions caused by herpes.

Although this disease can appear in anyone, it is more common in people with celiac disease, as it appears to be related to gluten sensitivity. Thus, the treatment consists of eliminating gluten from the daily diet, and the use of antibiotics may also be indicated by the doctor.

Main symptoms

Symptoms of dermatitis herpetiformis usually appear on the scalp, buttocks, elbows, knees and back and usually appear symmetrically, that is, it appears on both elbows or both knees, for example. The main symptoms are:

  • Red patches with peeling;
  • Small itchy blisters;
  • Blisters that pop easily when scratching;
  • Burning sensation in affected regions;
  • Appearance of sores around the blisters, which arise from scratching the skin too intensely.

In the presence of signs and symptoms indicative of dermatitis herpetiformis, it is important that the dermatologist is consulted, so that it is possible to confirm the diagnosis and start the most appropriate treatment.

The diagnosis is usually made through biopsy, in which a small piece of the lesion is removed to be evaluated in the laboratory, making it possible to evaluate the characteristics of the lesions in more detail and assess the presence of immunoglobulin A at the site, which is common in dermatitis herpetiformis.

Main cause

The main cause of dermatitis herpetiformis is gluten intolerance, as this substance is able to activate the immune system, giving rise to the formation of immunoglobulin A, a substance that leads the body to attack the cells of the intestine and skin.

Although it appears to be caused by gluten, there are many cases of people with dermatitis herpetiformis who do not have any intestinal symptoms of gluten intolerance, so the cause is still unclear.

How the treatment is done

Treatment for dermatitis herpetiformis should be indicated by the doctor according to the characteristics of the blisters and other symptoms. Thus, initially it is indicated to carry out a gluten-free diet, as it is possible to prevent the appearance of new blisters. Here's how to get gluten out of your diet.

However, as the diet takes some time to take effect, the dermatologist may also indicate the use of an antibiotic in pills, known as Dapsone, which relieves symptoms in 1 to 2 days. Because it can cause several side effects, such as diarrhea, nausea and even anemia, the dose of Dapsone should be reduced over time until the minimum dose capable of relieving symptoms is found.

In case of allergy to dapsone, the dermatologist may prescribe the use of ointments with corticosteroids or the use of other antibiotics, such as Sulfapyridine or Rituximab, for example.

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