Purpura of the ears: a distinctive vasculopathy with circulating autoantibodies complicating long-term treatment with levamisole in children

Br J Dermatol. 1999 May;140(5):948-51. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.1999.02833.x.


The cutaneous side-effects of levamisole include non-specific and lichenoid eruptions, fixed drug eruption and, very rarely, cutaneous vasculitis. We describe a distinctive clinical and histological vasculopathy with immunological abnormalities in children with paediatric nephrotic syndrome receiving long-term levamisole treatment. Four boys and one girl were identified. Their average age was 10 years. Levamisole had been used for an average of 24 months. Purpura of the ears was the most common finding corresponding histologically to a vasculopathic reaction pattern ranging from a leucocytoclastic and thrombotic vasculitis to a vascular occlusive disease without true vasculitis but with associated antinuclear, antiphospholipid and anticytoplasmic antibodies. The eruption resolved in all patients 2-3 weeks after the discontinuation of levamisole, but serum autoantibodies persisted for 2-14 months.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / adverse effects*
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use
  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic / analysis
  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid / analysis
  • Cheek / pathology
  • Child
  • Ear Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Ear Diseases / immunology
  • Ear Diseases / pathology
  • Ear, External* / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Levamisole / adverse effects*
  • Levamisole / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / immunology
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / pathology
  • Purpura / chemically induced*
  • Purpura / immunology
  • Purpura / pathology


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antibodies, Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic
  • Antibodies, Antiphospholipid
  • Levamisole