Bullous pemphigoid as pruritus in the elderly: a common presentation.

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Bullous pemphigoid as pruritus in the elderly: a common presentation.

JAMA Dermatol. 2013 Aug;149(8):950-3

Authors: Bakker CV, Terra JB, Pas HH, Jonkman MF

IMPORTANCE: In the literature, patients with bullous pemphigoid have been reported to have itch without blisters. Clinical observations in these patients have varied from eczematous or urticarial to papular or nodular skin lesions. Here we investigated the spectrum of clinical variants.
OBSERVATIONS: Fifteen patients with itch without blisters had immunopathologic findings of bullous pemphigoid. Mean age at diagnosis was 81.7 years. No blistering occurred during the mean 2.2 years of follow-up. Mean delay of diagnosis was 2.8 years. Clinical symptoms were heterogeneous: pruritus sine materia (no primary skin lesions), eczematous, urticarial, papular, and/or nodular skin lesions were seen. Treatment with potent topical corticosteroids or methotrexate sodium led to remission in 11 patients.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Itch without skin lesions can be the only symptom of bullous pemphigoid. Therefore, it is important to include serologic and direct immunofluorescence in the diagnostic algorithm of itch. We propose the unifying term pruritic nonbullous pemphigoid for all patients with immunopathologic findings of bullous pemphigoid, itch, and no blisters.

PMID: 23804286 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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