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Definition of Bullous pemphigoid

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Bullous pemphigoid: A disease characterized by tense blisters on the skin. The condition is caused by antibodies that accumulate abnormally in a layer of the skin called the basement membrane. The antigen of this autoimmune disease is localized to the hemidesmosome. Most cases of the disease are in older people but the disease can affect younger people, even babies. Bullous pemphigoid can be chronic, mild and not affect the general health or it can be severe and compromise the health of the sufferer. The diagnosis can be confirmed by a skin biopsy showing the abnormal antibodies deposited in the skin layer. Treatment of mild, limited disease is with topical corticosteroid creams, but especially severe cases may sometimes require high doses of orally administered cortisone-like drugs (corticosteroids) or other immune suppression drugs. .

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Reviewed on 12/4/2018

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