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Keywords:

  • bullous pemphigoid;
  • topical corticosteroids;
  • tetracyclines;
  • severity degree;
  • review

ABSTRACT

Background  Treatment of bullous pemphigoid (BP) with systemic immunosuppressive agents, in particular with systemic corticosteroids, has many long-term side-effects. A dozen reports were published regarding the efficacy of topical corticosteroids in the treatment of bullous pemphigoid.

Objective  To evaluate the efficacy of potent class I topical corticosteroids in relation to the affected body surface area (BSA) in patients with bullous pemphigoid and to review the literature.

Methods  An open prospective trial with 10 patients with BP with measurement of the affected BSA. Treatment protocol consisted of three steps: potent class I topical corticosteroid treatment, systemic tetracyclines and systemic corticosteroids. Follow-up period was between 24 and 72 months.

Results  Our study suggests a correlation between the success rate of topical corticosteroid treatment and the body surface area initially affected: all patients with an affected BSA of less than 20% healed with topical treatment only. The patients with more than 40% affected BSA needed systemic treatment with steroids.

Conclusion  Topical class I corticosteroids seem to be effective in healing lesions of BP, especially if less than 20% of the BSA is affected. This study comprises only 10 patients, making further studies necessary to draw definite conclusions.