Management of cutaneous vasculitis

Presse Med. 2020 Oct;49(3):104033. doi: 10.1016/j.lpm.2020.104033. Epub 2020 Jul 6.


Cutaneous vasculitis encompasses cutaneous components of systemic vasculitides, skin-limited variants of systemic vasculitides, such as IgA vasculitis or cutaneous polyarteritis nodosa, and single-organ cutaneous vasculitis, as individualized in 2012 in the Chapel Hill Consensus Conference Nomenclature. In this article, we focus on the management of skin-limited and single-organ vasculitides, often referred to, in clinical practice, as isolated "cutaneous leukocyctoclastic vasculitis", terms which may correspond to histological findings or descriptions, but are imprecise and not specific. Since most cases of isolated cutaneous vasculitis are self-limited and resolve spontaneously over 3 to 4 weeks, most patients require no systemic treatment. For those with severe, intractable, or chronic and recurring vasculitis, systemic therapy can be indicated and should be tailored to the severity of the disease. High-quality literature is lacking to guide management. Oral glucocorticoids may be required for a short period of time for painful, ulcerative, or otherwise severe disease in order to speed resolution. Among drugs which are reasonable longer-term options are colchicine, dapsone, azathioprine or hydroxychloroquine. Additional studies, including an ongoing multicenter randomized trial, are needed to determine the most effective therapies for skin-limited vasculitis.

Keywords: Azathioprine; Colchicine; Cutaneous vasculitis; Dapsone; Leucocytoclastic vasculitis; Vasculitis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Azathioprine / therapeutic use
  • Colchicine / therapeutic use
  • Consensus
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Drug Resistance / physiology
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Diseases, Vascular / diagnosis
  • Skin Diseases, Vascular / epidemiology
  • Skin Diseases, Vascular / pathology
  • Skin Diseases, Vascular / therapy*
  • Vasculitis / diagnosis
  • Vasculitis / epidemiology
  • Vasculitis / pathology
  • Vasculitis / therapy*


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Azathioprine
  • Colchicine