Severe cases of pemphigus may need wound management, similar to the treatment for severe burns. People with this condition may need to stay in a hospital and receive care in a burn unit or intensive care unit.
Treatment is aimed at reducing symptoms, including pain. It also aims to prevent complications, especially infections.
Treatment may involve:
Body-wide (systemic) therapy is needed to control pemphigus and should be started as early as possible. Systemic treatment includes:
However, side effects from systemic therapy are a major complication.
Some antibiotics are also effective, particularly minocycline and doxycycline. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) is occasionally used.
Plasmapheresis is a process in which antibody-containing plasma is removed from the blood and replaced with intravenous fluids or donated plasma. Plasmapheresis may be used along with systemic medications to reduce the amount of antibodies in the blood.
Ulcer and blister treatments include soothing or drying lotions, wet dressings, or similar measures.
Without treatment, this condition is usually life-threatening. Severe infection is the most frequent cause of death.
With treatment, the disorder tends to be chronic. Side effects of treatment may be severe or disabling.
Your health care provider should examine any unexplained blisters.
Call your health care provider if you have been treated for pemphigus vulgaris and you develop any of the following symptoms:
Habif TP. Vesicular and bullous diseases. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2009:chap 16.
Baroni A, Lanza A, Cirillo N, Brunetti G, Ruocco E, Ruocco V. Vesicular and bullous disorders: pemphigus. Dermatol Clin. 2007;25(4):597-603.
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