Skin manifestations in vasculitis and erythema nodosum

F. Atzeni, M. Carrabba, J. C. Davin, C. Francès, C. Ferri, L. Guillevin, J. L. Jorizzo, M. T. Mascia, M. J. Patel, C. Pagnoux, L. Vulpio, Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini

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Cutaneous lesions are frequent in medium-sized and small vessel systemic vasculitides. The classic cutaneous manifestation of vasculitis is palpable purpura; however the clinical manifestations greatly depend on the size of the vessels affected. They usually do not affect prognosis but relapsing or intractable forms have been described. When skin manifestations are only one of the clinical signs of vasculitis, treatment with corticosteroids and, when indicated, an immunosuppressant, is mandatory, which usually leads to the rapid disappearance of cutaneous lesions. Conversely, when skin lesions are isolated, the diagnosis can be more challenging, but initial treatment may be less aggressive, e.g., dapsone or colchicine, reserving corticosteroids onlyfor those patients in whom the former are ineffective. Erythema nodosum (EN) is the most frequent septal panniculitis. In general it is characterized by the sudden eruption of one or more erythematous and tender nodules or plaques located mainly over the extensor sides of lower extremities. EN resolves with complete "restitutio ad integrum" of the skin in 3-6 weeks. Relapses are uncommon but inpatients with idiophatic, streptococcal or EN associated with other upper respiratory tract infections they are more frequent. The main treatment of EN is that of the underlying associated conditions, if demonstrated. Aspirin and other NSAIDs in full doses are often sufficient.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical and Experimental Rheumatology
Issue numberSUPPL. 40
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006


  • Churg-Strauss syndrome
  • Cutaneous vasculitis
  • Erythema nodosum
  • Polyarteritis nodosa
  • Urticarial vasculitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology


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