Bullous dermatoses can be debilitating and possibly fatal. A selection of autoimmune blistering diseases, including pemphigus vulgaris, paraneoplastic pemphigus, bullous pemphigoid, cicatricial pemphigoid, dermatitis herpetiformis and linear IgA dermatosis are reviewed. Pemphigus vulgaris usually starts in the oral mucosa followed by blistering of the skin, which is often painful. Paraneoplastic pemphigus is associated with neoplasms, most commonly of lymphoid tissue, but also Waldenström's macroglobulinemia, sarcomas, thymomas and Castleman's disease. Bullous pemphigoid is characterized by large, tense bullae, but may begin as an urticarial eruption. Cicatricial (scarring) pemphigoid presents with severe, erosive lesions of the mucous membranes with skin involvement in one third of patients focused around the head and upper trunk. Dermatitis herpetiformis is intensely pruritic and chronic, characterized by papulovesicles and urticarial wheals on the extensor surfaces in a grouped or herpetiform, symmetric distribution. Linear IgA dermatosis is clinically similar to dermatitis herpetiformis, but it is not associated with gluten-sensitive enteropathy as is dermatitis herpetiformis.





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