Blistering disorders: diagnosis and treatment

Dermatol Ther. 2003;16(3):214-23. doi: 10.1046/j.1529-8019.2003.01631.x.


Blistering diseases are a heterogeneous group of disorders that can affect either skin and mucous membrane, or both, varying in presentation, clinical course, pathohistology, immunopathology and treatment. Not infrequently the diagnosis is delayed. This can result in severe, and sometimes fatal consequences. Although these diseases are rare, it is very important to make an accurate diagnosis based on a combination of clinical profile and laboratory observations. A brief review is presented of the following bullous diseases: pemphigus, paraneoplastic pemphigus, bullous pemphigoid, cicatricial pemphigoid, epidermolysis bullosa acquisita, dermatitis herpetiformis, linear IgA bullous disease, porphyria cutanea tarda, and subcorneal pustular dermatitis. Their clinical, pathohistologic and immunopathologic features and recommendations for therapy are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Epidermolysis Bullosa Acquisita / pathology
  • Epidermolysis Bullosa Acquisita / therapy
  • Humans
  • Paraneoplastic Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Pemphigoid, Benign Mucous Membrane / diagnosis
  • Pemphigoid, Benign Mucous Membrane / physiopathology
  • Pemphigoid, Bullous / diagnosis
  • Pemphigoid, Bullous / drug therapy
  • Pemphigoid, Bullous / physiopathology
  • Pemphigus / diagnosis
  • Pemphigus / drug therapy
  • Pemphigus / physiopathology
  • Porphyria Cutanea Tarda / diagnosis
  • Porphyria Cutanea Tarda / therapy
  • Skin Diseases / diagnosis
  • Skin Diseases, Vesiculobullous / diagnosis*
  • Skin Diseases, Vesiculobullous / drug therapy*
  • Skin Diseases, Vesiculobullous / immunology
  • Skin Diseases, Vesiculobullous / physiopathology