Long term follow-up of dermatitis herpetiformis with and without dietary gluten withdrawal

Br J Dermatol. 1982 Dec;107(6):631-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.1982.tb00520.x.


Seventy-eight patients with dermatitis herpetiformis have been followed up for periods ranging from 3 to 14 years (mean 7.4). Forty-two patients were treated with gluten-free diet (GFD) and thirty-six took a normal diet (ND). Thirty of the forty-two (71%) taking the GFD were able to discontinue drugs previously needed to control their rash compared with five (14%) of the thirty-six patients taking a ND. The mean time taken to reduce drug requirements for patients taking a GFD was 8 months (range 4-30), and for stopping drugs, 29 months (range 6-108). The incidence of macroscopic abnormality of the small intestine decreased from 69 to 15%, and the mean intra-epithelial lymphocyte count decreased significantly in those patients taking a GFD, whereas there was no significant change in patients taking a ND. The improvement in the skin and intestinal lesions was related to the strictness of the GFD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Dapsone / administration & dosage
  • Dapsone / adverse effects
  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis / diet therapy*
  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis / drug therapy
  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis / pathology
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glutens
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / metabolism
  • Intestines / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin / immunology
  • Time Factors


  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Glutens
  • Dapsone