Skip to the navigationSynonymsDermatostomatitis, Erythema Multiforme Type Erythema Multiforme Bullosum Erythema Polymorphe, Erythema Multiforme Type Febrile Mucocutaneous Syndrome Herpes Iris, Erythema Multiforme Type Disorder SubdivisionsGeneral Discussion Erythema multiforme (EM) is the name applied to a group of hypersensitivity disorders, affecting mostly children and young adults, and characterized by symmetric red, patchy lesions, primarily on the arms and legs. The cause is unknown, but EM frequently occurs in association with herpes simplex virus, suggesting an immunologic process initiated by the virus. In half of the cases, the triggering agents appear to be medications, including anticonvulsants, sulfonamides, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and other antibiotics. In addition, some cases appear to be associated with infectious organisms such as Mycoplasma pneumoniae and many viral agents. Erythema multiforme is the mildest of three skin disorders that are often discussed in relation to each other. It is generally the mildest of the three. More severe is Stevens-Johnson syndrome.
The most severe of the three is toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). Called also fifth disease. Although necrotic lesions have sometimes been observed in type II reactions (Esquenazi et al. Erythema multiforme may show tissue death and other changes. The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only.
NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians. This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD’s resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.