Generalized Pustular Psoriasis in Pregnancy: Current and Future Treatments

Am J Clin Dermatol. 2022 Sep;23(5):661-671. doi: 10.1007/s40257-022-00698-9. Epub 2022 Jun 15.


Generalized pustular psoriasis (GPP) is a rare, severe neutrophilic skin disease characterized by sudden widespread eruption of sterile pustules with or without systemic symptoms. GPP may be life threatening in cases with severe complications such as cardiovascular failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and serious infections. Impetigo herpetiformis (IH) is a GPP that is induced and exacerbated by pregnancy and occurs most frequently during the last trimester. IH may result in poor or fatal neonatal outcomes, including placental insufficiency, fetal abnormalities, stillbirth, and early neonatal death. Most patients have prompt remission in the postpartum period; however, earlier appearance and more severe symptoms are observed during subsequent pregnancies. Appropriate treatment and close monitoring of the mother and fetus are vital for the management of patients with IH. Particular attention is required for the management of patients with IH to avoid an influence on the fetus. However, data regarding treatments for GPP in pregnant women are sparse. Over the last decade, many patients with IH have been treated with cyclosporine, corticosteroids, tumor necrosis factor-α inhibitors, interleukin (IL)-17 and IL-12/23 inhibitors, and granulocyte and monocyte adsorption apheresis (GMA). GMA may be an important option for patients with IH as it is presently one of the safest available therapeutic options, but there have been no reports to fully confirm its safety in pregnant patients with GPP. Alternatively, based on recent advances in the understanding of the role of the IL-36 axis in the pathogenesis of GPP, biologic agents that target the IL-36 pathway may demonstrate promising efficacy in IH.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Exanthema*
  • Female
  • Granulocytes / pathology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Placenta / pathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Psoriasis* / diagnosis
  • Psoriasis* / pathology
  • Psoriasis* / therapy
  • Skin Diseases, Vesiculobullous*