By Gary M. White, MD

Bullous lupus erythematosus

Rarely, lesions of cutaneous lupus erythematosus may develop blisters.


Vesicles and/or bulla in a patient with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), typically a young adult woman, is characteristic. Of course, men and occasionally children may be affected. The bulla are typically subepidermal and have clinical similarities to bullous pemphigoid or dermatitis herpetiformis.

Diagnostic criteria have been proposed [J Am Acad Dermatol 1983;9:924–933]:

For a differential, see the bullous differential.


Dapsone is the treatment of choice. Prednisone, azathioprine, and cyclophosphamide are alternatives.

Additional Pictures

A young man with blisters on the arms for 2 months. Workup showed systemic lupus erythematosus.
Bullous lupus erythematosus Bullous lupus erythematosus Bullous lupus erythematosus

Bullous lupus on the trunk of an 8-year-old.
Bullous lupus erythematosus


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