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BMC Dermatol. 2005 May 9;5:5.

Erythroderma: a clinical study of 97 cases.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Razi Hospital, Vahdate-Eslami Sq. 11966, Tehran, Iran.



Erythroderma is a rare skin disorder that may be caused by a variety of underlying dermatoses, infections, systemic diseases and drugs.


We reviewed the clinical, laboratory and biopsy material of 97 patients diagnosed with erythroderma who were treated in our department over a 6-year period (1996 through 2002).


The male-female ratio was 1.85:1. The mean age at diagnosis was 46.2 years. The most common causative factors were dermatoses (59.7%), followed by drug reactions (21.6%), malignancies (11.3%) and idiopathic causes (7.2%). Carbamazepine was the most common drug (57.1%). The best clinicopathologic correlation was found in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and pityriasis rubra pilaris related erythroderma. Apart from scaling and erythema that were present in all patients, pruritus was the most common finding (97.5%), followed by fever (33.6%), lymphadenopathy (21.3%), edema (14.4%) and hyperkeratosis (7.2%).


This study outlines that underlying etiologic factors of erythroderma may show geographic variations. Our series had a high percentage of erythroderma secondary to preexisting dermatoses and a low percentage of idiopathic cases. There was no HIV-infected patient among our series based on multiple serum antibody tests. The clinical features of erythroderma were identical, irrespective of the etiology. The onset of the disease was usually insidious except in drug-induced erythroderma, where it was acute. The group associated with the best prognosis was that related to drugs.

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