Clinicopathologic manifestations of 36 korean patients with acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis: a case series and review of the literature

Ann Dermatol. 2010 May;22(2):163-9. doi: 10.5021/ad.2010.22.2.163. Epub 2010 May 17.


Background: Acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP) is a rare and severe subtype of drug eruption, characterized by acute, extensive, non-follicular, sterile pustules on an erythematous background, accompanied by fever and leukocytosis.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to characterize AGEP in Korean patients in terms of clinical, laboratory, and pathologic findings.

Methods: Thirty-six patients (M:F=17:19) with AGEP were identified from an extensive review of medical records over a 15 year period. All patient cases were confirmed by biopsy and fulfilled the diagnostic criteria.

Results: The patient ages ranged from 4~80 years (37.6+/-19.4). The incubation period was 1~23 days. The duration of disease was 5~14 days. Neutrophilia (36/36), high CRP (14/36), and eosinophilia (30/36) were common laboratory findings. A history of drug administration existed in 23 of 36 patients; herbal medications, lacquers and radiocontrast media were the unique causative drugs. Spongioform subcorneal or intraepidermal pustules in the epidermis was observed in all patients. Thirty-six patients were subdivided into 2 groups: group A (n=23) was strongly associated with known agents; and group B (n=13) had no identified causative agents. There was no significant difference between the 2 groups.

Conclusion: OUR RESULTS DEMONSTRATE THE CHARACTERISTIC FEATURES OF AGEP IN KOREAN PATIENTS AS FOLLOWS: lower identification of causative agents; herbal medications, lacquers, and radiocontrast media were the main causative agents; and no significant differences existed between the 2 groups.

Keywords: Acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis; Clinicopathologic manifestation; Korean.