ABC Medical Center > Pemphigus

What is Pemphigus?

21:55 - 4 May , 2021


It is a rare, non-contagious, chronic, autoimmune pathology that produces painful blisters and ulcers on the skin, mouth, or genitals. It occurs most often in middle-aged adults, although it can appear at any time in life.

Until now, it is unknown what causes pemphigus and although it is not considered a hereditary condition, there are cases of genetic predisposition that have a higher risk of suffering from it. It rarely develops from the administration of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, penicillamine, which removes certain materials from the blood, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Pemphigus is classified into:

  • Foliaceous: only forms blisters on the chest, back, and shoulders. They usually do not cause pain.
  • Vulgar: appears with the formation of blisters in the mouth and later on the face or genitals. They are usually painful.

Signs and symptoms Pemphigus

The characteristic symptoms of pemphigus vulgaris, which is the most common, consist of:

  • Painful blisters and ulcers in the mouth that later form on the skin.
  • Skin ulcers present in the mouth or under the tongue, scalp, chest, back, or other skin areas, which may:
  • Appear or disappear.
  • Drain.
  • Form scabs
  • Discharge.
  • Flake off.
  • Peel off easily.

Potential risks:

  • Dehydration.
  • Malnutrition due to difficulty eating food due to painful sores in the mouth.
  • Medication side effects.
  • Secondary skin infections.
  • Septicemia.
  • Death.

Diagnosis and treatment Pemphigus

Once your doctor analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, they will perform a physical examination of your skin and mouth to assess the injuries and their severity. You may also require blood tests to identify the characteristic antibodies present in pemphigus, a skin biopsy of blister tissue, and an endoscopy to check for throat lesions. All of them will help confirm the diagnosis.

The treatment to follow will depend on your symptoms and damage, as well as the type of pemphigus you suffer from, but it generally consists of inhibiting the development of blisters with certain topical or intravenous medications, such as: 

  • Painkillers.
  • Antibiotics.
  • Antifungals.
  • Corticosteroids.
  • Immunosuppressants.
  • Intravenous fluid nutrition when mouth ulcers are so painful they prevent eating.
  • Anesthetic pills to reduce the pain caused by mouth ulcers.

At ABC Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Department, we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from the prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies of both chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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  • Carvajal EM, Jiménez TI, Francesa BG. Pénfigo Vulgar y Foliaceo: Una revisión bibliográfica. Rev Clin Esc Med. 2019;9(1):48-55.

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