Pustular psoriasis: A distinct aetiopathogenic and clinical entity

Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2023;90(1):19-29. doi: 10.25259/IJDVL_542_2022.


Pustular psoriasis is a distinct subset of psoriasis that presents with involvement of the skin in the form of sterile pustules along with systemic manifestations. Though it has been conventionally grouped under the umbrella of psoriasis, recent research has shed light on its pathogenetic mechanisms associated with the IL-36 pathway, which is distinct from conventional psoriasis. Pustular psoriasis in itself is a heterogeneous entity consisting of various subtypes, including generalised, localised, acute, and chronic forms. There is confusion regarding its current classification as entities like deficiency of IL-36 antagonist (DITRA) which are closely related to pustular psoriasis both in their pathogenetic mechanism and its clinical manifestations, are not included under pustular psoriasis. Entities like palmoplantar pustulosis, which presents with similar clinical features but is pathogenetically distinct from other forms of pustular psoriasis, are included under this condition. Management of pustular psoriasis depends upon its severity; while some of the localised variants can be managed with topical therapy alone, the generalised variants like Von Zumbusch disease and impetigo herpetiformis may need intensive care unit admission and tailor-made treatment protocols. The advent of newer biologics and better insight into the pathogenesis of pustular psoriasis has opened the way for newer therapies, including tumour necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors, interleukin-1 inhibitors, interleukin-17 inhibitors, and granulocyte monocyte apheresis. It continues to be an enigma whether pustular psoriasis is actually a variant of psoriasis or an entirely different disease entity, though we feel that it is an entirely different disease process.

Keywords: Generalized pustular psoriasis; acrodermatitis continua of Hallopeau; impetigo herpetiformis; infantile pustular psoriasis; pustular psoriasis in childhood.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Products* / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Interleukins
  • Psoriasis* / diagnosis
  • Psoriasis* / etiology
  • Psoriasis* / therapy
  • Skin / pathology


  • Interleukins
  • Biological Products