Pyoderma Gangrenosum

Pyoderma Gangrenosum,

Pyoderma gangrenosum is a rare, painful skin disease that causes open wounds (also known as skin sores or skin ulcers).  These lesions usually develop on the legs, but can appear anywhere on the skin.

Pyoderma gangrenosum can affect men, women, and children of both sexes, but it is more common among adult females.1

Causes of pyoderma gangrenosum

Experts believe pyoderma gangrenosum is a result of an atypical immune system that causes excessive inflammation.2

The exact causes of pyoderma gangrenosum are unclear, but researchers have discovered that the majority of people with pyoderma gangrenosum are also affected by a systemic illness (a condition that affects a number of your body’s organs).3  Pyoderma gangrenosum is also more likely to affect people with rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Pyoderma gangrenosum treatment

The most common pyoderma gangrenosum treatments are topical steroids, creams and ointments that are applied directly to the skin.  Doctors also commonly prescribe systemic medications including corticosteroids, cyclosporine or tacrolimus, however many patients respond poorly to these medications.

Skin grafts can also be used to treat pyoderma gangrenosum, they have however, occasionally worsened the symptoms of this disease.4

There is an urgent need for safer and more effective pyoderma gangrenosum treatments.  Clinical research trials are the most effective method to discover and develop new treatments for this rare, debilitating skin disease.

2 Su C and Teitelman M. Anti-TNF therapy: Is this our answer to pyoderma gangrenosum. Gastroenterology 2006;131(4):1347-9.
3 Powell FC and O'Kane M. Management of pyoderma gangrenosum. Dermatol Clin 2002;20(2):347-55, viii.
4 Reichrath J, Bens G, Bonowitz A and Tilgen W. Treatment recommendations for pyoderma gangrenosum: an evidence-based review of
   the literature based on more than 350 patients. J Am Acad Dermatol 2005;53(2):273-83.

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