Tag Archives: mucous membranes

Oral pemphigus Part 1

Pemphigus vulgaris

Pemphigus vulgaris is an autoimmune or “self-allergy” disease in which a patient’s own circulating antibodies become altered so that they attack the points of adhesion of the epithelial cells, one to another, of the skin and mucous membranes. Women are more frequently affected than men and the disease is usually diagnosed between the ages of 50-70 years, often with oral blisters as the first sign. Children are rarely affected. The typical lesion is a small or large, clear-fluid blister which breaks rapidly in the mouth to leave a flat white, somewhat tender ulcer with a thin red line around it. Skin blisters may last for hours or days, and blisters may be caused by pressure on the skin or membranes of the mouth. There is no cure, but pemphigus is treated with heavy doses of corticosteroids and azathioprine, with frequent relapses after the therapy is stopped. Secondary infection is common because of the immune system suppression from these drugs. The overall mortality is less than 6%, usually from infection or loss of body fluid from a large number of blisters. Continue reading