The following information may help to address your question:
What is pityriasis lichenoides?
(PL) is a skin condition characterized by small, raised pink spots that tend to come together in groups. It is not contagious. There are two main types of PL: an acute form called pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta
(PLEVA), and a milder, longer-lasting form called pityriasis lichenoides chronica
There is also a rare, severe variant of PLEVA called febrile ulceronecrotic PLEVA, associated with high fever and complications that may affect other body systems.
In both types of PL, spots usually occur on the trunk, buttox, arms and legs.
PLEVA begins abruptly and may cause itching or burning.
PLC may develop over days, is less irritating, and lasts longer than PLEVA.
Spots associated with PLC typically fade within 3 to 4 weeks, but new spots may then appear.
There is no clear consensus regarding how long either form of PL lasts, but most cases resolve on their own within one to several months. Some cases may wax and wane, or relapse over a period of years.
The cause of PL is not known. Theories on the cause have included the possibility of a low-grade or self-limited lymphoproliferative disorder
; a reaction to a bacterial or viral infection; and an inappropriate, inflammatory immune response to an unknown foreign agent.
Treatment options may include antibiotics
, or medications that suppress the immune system
response (immunosuppressants) in severe cases.
Last updated: 1/9/2017
What are the signs and symptoms of pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta?
Pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta (PLEVA) is the acute
form of a skin condition called pityriasis lichenoides
. It is characterized by the sudden onset of red patches that quickly develop into scaling papules
. These papules may become filled with blood and/or pus or erode into crusted red-brown spots. People may also experience burning and itching of the affected area. Scarring and/or temporary discoloration of the skin may be present after the lesions have healed.
Although PLEVA can affect almost any part of the body, it most commonly develops on the trunk and/or limbs (arms/legs). Affected people may have a few to more than one hundred papules. The skin abnormalities generally resolve without treatment in a few weeks to a few months; however, some people experience episodes of the condition on and off for years.
Aside from the skin findings, most affected people do not experience any additional signs and symptoms. However, some may experience fever, headaches, joint pain and swelling of nearby lymph nodes
Febrile Ulceronecrotic Mucha-Haberman Disease is a rare and severe variant of PLEVA that is associated with unique signs and symptoms.
For more information on this condition, please click here
Last updated: 2/2/2015
What symptoms are associated with pityriasis lichenoides chronica (PLC)?
PLC is the milder form of pityriasis lichenoides, and the lesions associated with this form consist of small, firm, red-brown spots. Unlike PLEVA, the lesions are not irritating and have mica-like adherent scale, which can be scraped off to reveal a shiny brown surface. The spot flattens out over several weeks to leave a brown mark which fades over several months. PLC can look like psoriasis, lichen planus, or insect bites.
Last updated: 7/19/2013
What treatment is available for pityriasis lichenoides?
Most cases of pityriasis lichenoides (PL) tend to resolve on their own over time.
However, treatment may be used to decrease the duration of the condition, especially if the rash is a nuisance.
Initial treatment for PL usually consists of topical or systemic corticosteroids
, or oral antibiotics. However, these treatments may cause multiple side effects and are not always effective.
Natural sunlight and/or phototherapy
treatment may be helpful. A combination of tablets known as Psoralens with UVA (PUVA treatment
) may also be helpful, but carries a higher risk of side effects. Severe forms of the disease may be managed by medications that suppress the immune response (immunosuppressants).
Information about specific medications that may be used to treat PL is available on Medscape Reference's website here
Last updated: 1/9/2017
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