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Bullous Eruption of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Dramatic Response to Dapsone Therapy

RUSSELL P. HALL, M.D.; THOMAS J. LAWLEY, M.D.; HOWARD R. SMITH, M.D.; and STEPHEN I. KATZ, M.D., Ph.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to R.P. Hall, III, M.D.; Dermatology Branch, Building 10, 12N238, National Institutes of Health; Bethesda, MD 20205.


Bethesda, Maryland


Ann Intern Med. 1982;97(2):165-170. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-97-2-165
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Four patients with systemic lupus erythematosus developed a nonpruritic vesiculobullous eruption that was unresponsive to high-dose systemic corticosteroid therapy. In three patients the eruption was not associated with a flare of systemic disease. Biopsy results showed neutrophilic microabscesses at the dermal papillary tips and perivascular lymphohistiocytic infiltrates. Direct immunofluorescence of normal appearing skin not exposed to the sun was positive in all four patients. Due to the unresponsiveness to corticosteroid therapy and the striking histologic resemblance to dermatitis herpetiformis, each of the patients was treated with dapsone. Within 24 hours each patient had prompt cessation of the appearance of new lesions. Improvement of the eruption did not correlate with improvement of the systemic manifestations of their lupus erythematosus. The rapid response to dapsone therapy suggests that dapsone is useful in treating bullous lesions of systemic lupus erythematosus.

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