Pemphigus

Pemphigus is a group of autoimmune disorders that affects the skin. The attacks cause blisters and burn-like wounds on skin and mucous membranes (like mouth). There are three forms of the disease:

  • Causes

    Pemphigus is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the skin and mucus membranes. The attack causes the sores on the skin.

    It is not clear what causes the immune system to attack normal body tissue. For some, medication may be the cause.

  • Definition


    Pemphigus is a group of autoimmune disorders that affects the skin. The attacks cause blisters and burn-like wounds on skin and mucous membranes (like mouth). There are three forms of the disease:

    • Pemphigus vulgaris—most common type of pemphigus
    • Pemphigus foliaceus
    • Paraneoplastic pemphigus—most serious type, usually occurs with
      cancer

  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. This will include a thorough skin exam. Special care is given to examining the lesions.

    Tests to look for signs of an autoimmune disorder may include:


    • Skin
      biopsies
      of the lesion and surrounding tissue
    • Blood and skin tests
    Skin Biopsy
    Skin proceedure
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Prevention

    There are no guidelines for preventing pemphigus because the cause is unknown.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that increase your chance for pemphigus include:

    • Family members with pemphigus

    • A history of having autoimmune diseases, such as
      myasthenia gravis,
      lupus, or thymoma
    • Jewish or Mediterranean descent

    • Regular use of certain drugs, including:

      • Penicillamine
      • Captopril
      • Rifampin
      • Piroxicam
      • Penicillin
      • Phenobarbital

  • Symptoms

    Pemphigus may occur over a small or large section of the skin. Itching and pain are common symptoms. Other symptoms will vary according to the type of pemphigus:

  • Treatment

    There is no cure for pemphigus but treatment may help control your condition. If left untreated, pemphigus can lead to death.

    Treatment aims to control the disease and prevent infection of the blistering lesions.

    If a drug triggered pemphigus, the doctor will stop that medication. In some cases, stopping the drug is all that is needed for recovery.