Erythrodermic Psoriasis

Written by Kimberly Clark
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Erythrodermic psoriasis is the least common form of psoriasis. It's also a far more severe form of the chronic skin condition. This kind of psoriasis generally develops after discontinuing the use of drugs, such as those used to treat the more common form of psoriasis, or diseases like asthma or manic depression.

It is primarily characterized by lesions that cover a larger portion of the body than the more prevalent plaque psoriasis. Moreover, the lesions indicative of erythrodermic psoriasis are larger and not as clearly defined as the ones present in plaque psoriasis.

Additional Symptoms

In addition to the lesions, other symptoms of erythrodermic psoriasis include acute itching, burning, and swelling. More serious complications might consist of chills and disabling pain. Some severe cases require hospitalization for life-threatening conditions such as heart failure, hypothermia, protein loss, and dehydration.

The initial treatment of psoriasis includes applications of topical ointments such as corticosteroid creams, moisturizers, and soothing oatmeal baths. In more severe cases oral medications are prescribed. These include oral retinoids (vitamin A derivatives), methotrexate, cyclosporine, and oral steroids like corticosteroids. If an infection is present, antibiotics might also be prescribed. When other treatments fail, applications of coal tar to the skin used in conjunction with phototherapy (the exposure to ultraviolet lights) is generally recommended.

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