Drug Eruptions and Erythroderma

  • Yuri T. Jadotte
  • Robert A. Schwartz
  • Chante Karimkhani
  • Lindsay N. Boyers
  • Shivani S. Patel


Erythroderma, also known as generalized exfoliative dermatitis, manifests as widespread scaling and erythema of most of the body’s cutaneous surface. Other than an apparent predilection for males, the disease occurs no more or less commonly in any other specific subsets of the population. Its etiology is highly variable, although the most common cause is a drug eruption, flare of a pre-existing dermatologic condition or lymphoma or other cancer. It may occur secondary to systemic use or topical application of the medication. Other causes may include infections, particularly in immunocompromised patients, excessive exposure to solar radiation while taking photosensitive drugs, and malignancy. Erythroderma is potentially life threatening, due to the severe associated hemodynamic and metabolic complications. The diagnosis of this disease is made clinically. Histological findings tend to be non-specific. Treatment of hemodynamic instability should be given precedence to reduce mortality, followed by rapid identification of the underlying cause of disease, as this relates directly to the prognosis of the condition as well as the likelihood of resolution from cessation of the offending agent or treatment of the underlying disease.


Erythroderma Exfoliative dermatitis Generalized erythroderma Drug eruptions Erythema Drug reaction with eosinophilia and systemic symptoms (DRESS) syndrome 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuri T. Jadotte
    • 1
  • Robert A. Schwartz
    • 2
  • Chante Karimkhani
    • 3
  • Lindsay N. Boyers
    • 4
  • Shivani S. Patel
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Nursing Science and Department of Quantitative Methods, Epidemiology and BiostatisticsRutgers University School of Nursing and Rutgers University School of Public HealthNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Dermatology, Pediatrics, Medicine, and Preventive Medicine and Community HealthRutgers University New Jersey Medical School and Rutgers University School of Public Affairs and AdministrationNewarkUSA
  3. 3.Columbia University College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Georgetown University School of MedicineWashington, DCUSA
  5. 5.Medical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA

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