Pemphigus vulgaris is a potentially life-threatening autoimmune condition. It causes painful blisters to develop on the skin and mucosa initially. The blisters burst easily and they leave raw areas of skin that cause pain and a risk of infection. A few weeks later, patients also commonly get lesions on the chest, back, scalp and face.
Pemphigus vulgaris is the most common type of pemphigus. Pemphigus vegetans is where the eroded lesions in skin folds crust and granulate. Pemphigus foliaceus is less severe, less painful, and doesn’t involve blisters in the mouth.
Complications include infection, difficulties with nutrition due to a painful mouth, and anxiety and depression.
Diagnosis is usually via skin biopsy. Treatment is with steroids or other immunosuppressants (e.g. azathioprine, mcyophenolate mofetil, cyclophosphamide, or rituximab).