Fast Five Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Erythema Multiforme?

William James, MD


February 15, 2018

Erythema multiforme major may require hospitalization for the treatment of complications and sequelae (eg, severe mucous membrane involvement, impaired oral intake, dehydration, secondary infection) and to manage the patient's fluid and electrolytes. The most severe cases should be managed in intensive care or burn units. Once the patient has stabilized in the intensive care or burn unit, the peak of disease progression has passed, and reepithelialization has begun, it may be appropriate to transfer the patient to a regular surgical ward. Reepithelialization usually takes 10-14 days.

Administer empiric antibiotics if clinical evidence of secondary infection exists. Avoid systemic corticosteroids in minor cases. In severe cases, their use is controversial, because these agents do not improve prognosis and may increase risk for complications.

Suppression of HSV can prevent HSV-associated erythema multiforme, but antiviral treatment started after the eruption of erythema multiforme has no effect on the course of erythema multiforme.

For more on the treatment of erythema multiforme, read here.


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