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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Erythema elevatum diutinum

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Your Question

I have erythema elevatum diutinum. How might this condition be treated? Will I ever be able to take less medication? Can diet affect this condition? Will it ever go away? Is this condition genetic?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is erythema elevatum diutinum?

Erythema elevatum diutinum is a rare type of chronic cutaneous vasculitis characterized by red, purple, brown or yellow papules, plaques (thick, red patches of skin), or nodules.These lesions are located mainly on the knees, elbows, hands, feet, face, genitals and buttocks. Although it is a chronic condition, most cases respond well to treatment with dapsone. The cause of this condition remains unknown.[1][2][3] 
Last updated: 4/13/2010

How might erythema elevatum diutinum be treated?

Dapsone is the first line of treatment for erythema elevatum diutinum.[2][3] Other treatments which may be used include sulfapyridine, niacinamide, and intermittent plasma exchange (PLEXA). In rare cases, surgical treatment may be used to provide symptomatic relief.[2] 
Last updated: 4/13/2010

Over time, will I be able to take less medication to treat my erythema elevatum diutinum?

Medications appear to have a suppressive effect on erythema elevatum diutinum. Recurrence is not uncommon after drug withdrawal.[2] Your dosage should be monitored by your physician who can help you determine if you can be weaned off of the medication.  
Last updated: 4/13/2010

Can diet affect erythema elevatum diutinum?

While diet itself has not been implicated in erythema elevatum diutinum, some cases may be related to digestive disorders.[3] In at least one case, a strict gluten-free diet helped to alleviate symptoms in an individual who also had celiac disease.[2] We encourage you to discuss your concerns regarding diet and erythema elevatum diutinum with your physician.
Last updated: 4/13/2010

Can erythema elevatum diutinum be cured? Will the symptoms ever subside?

Erythema elevatum diutinum is a chronic disease that usually evolves over a 5 to 10 year period and may eventually resolve. Medications may help to limit the progression of the disease.[2]
Last updated: 4/13/2010

Is erythema elevatum diutinum a genetic disease?

Erythema elevatum diutinum does not appear to be an inherited disease. The cause of this condition remains unknown.[3]
Last updated: 4/13/2010