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Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 1998 Aug 15;142(33):1880-2.

[Pellagra (deficiency of vitamin B3 or of the amino acid tryptophan): a disease still extant in the Netherlands].

[Article in Dutch]

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Academisch Ziekenhuis, afd. Dermatologie, Utrecht.


Pellagra was diagnosed in a 48-year-old female patient with a bullous skin disease. The skin disease with purple/red sharply demarcated spots on hands and feet had worsened after sun exposure. She was a chronic alcoholic and for the last few months she had had diarrhoea. The treatment included vitamin B3, vitamin B complex and a high-quality protein diet. Within three days her skin disease improved. Pellagra is caused by a deficiency of nicotinamide or of its precursor tryptophan. It may occur in patients with dietary deficiency diseases (e.g. chronic alcoholics), carcinoid syndrome, HIV infections and drugs: fluorouracil, isoniazid, chloramphenicol and mercaptopurine. Pellagra leads to the triad: dermatitis, diarrhoea and dementia, eventually followed by death. The skin changes are characteristic and pathognomonic. Recognition of pellagra is important; the prognosis is good after treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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