Erythema Multiforme

  • Kristina SemkovaEmail author
  • Jana Kazandjieva


Erythema multiforme (EM) is an acute, immune-mediated dermatological condition affecting the skin and mucous membranes. It develops as a type IV hypersensitivity reaction to infections, medications, or other stimuli. The clinical presentation with target lesions and/or mucosal erosions with a history of exposure to a known trigger is usually sufficient for the diagnosis. Albeit self-limited in most cases, severe or recurrent forms of EM require systemic therapy.






DNA (pol)

DNA polymerase


Epstein-Barr virus


Erythema multiforme


Graft-versus-host disease


Human herpesvirus


Inflammatory bowel disease




Polymorphous light eruption


Stevens-Johnson syndrome


Systemic lupus erythematosus


Toxic epidermal necrolysis


Varicella-zoster virus


  1. Bastuji-Garin S, Rzany B, Stern RS, et al. Clinical classification of cases of toxic epidermal necrolysis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and erythema multiforme. Arch Dermatol. 1993;129(1):92–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Further Reading

  1. Auquier-Dunant A, Mockenhaupt M, Naldi L, et al. Correlations between clinical patterns and causes of erythema multiforme majus, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, and toxic epidermal necrolysis: results of an international prospective study. Arch Dermatol. 2002;138(8):1019–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Farthing PM, Maragou P, Coates M, et al. Characteristics of the oral lesions in patients with cutaneous recurrent erythema multiforme. J Oral Pathol Med. 1995;24(1):9–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Hoffman LD, Hoffman MD. Dapsone in the treatment of persistent erythema multiforme. J Drugs Dermatol. 2006;5(4):375–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
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  9. Tzovaras V, Liberopoulos EN, Zioga A, et al. Persistent erythema multiforme in a patient with extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Oncology. 2007;73(1–2):127–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Urosevic-Maiwald M, Kerl K, Harr T, Allemann IB. Dapsone-induced erythema multiforme with neutropenia in a patient with linear IgA dermatosis: case report and review of the literature. Int J Dermatol. 2013;52(11):1369–71Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dermatopathology LaboratorySt. Thomas’ Hospital, St. John’s Institute of DermatologyLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Dermatology and VenereologyMedical University-SofiaSofiaBulgaria

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