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erythema multiforme

I have been diagnosed with erythema multiforme (a byopsy was performed) but it refuses to go away despite many treatments. I have been taking steroids and using cortison creams without much relief and we are now trying to treat me with a drug used to treat viral infections.  I have only been on this drug for 5 days but I thought I was getting some relief but now it doesn't seem to be so.

I have had this now for over 2 months, going on 3 and I wonder if anyone has heard of this problem continuing for so long with no results???
5 Responses
732948 tn?1245898151
I have it too. My doctor gave me Valtrex, steriods and some cream. She said that I was allergic to heat and bacteria, but anyways, I found out that I was allergic to drugs. One day, I took an Advil liquid gel and broke out an hour later. It lasted for 6 days but after that, I discontinued consuming any sort of drugs and I never broke out again. Well, just wanted to share how my problem was resolved and I hope that you come to a solution. Take care. coco4bee
Avatar universal
I was diagnosed with urticaria which started in '91. I would break out on my hands for about a week. The bumps would go away leaving darks spots on me. I was told I would grow out it. As I got older, I would break out on my arms, back, chest, fingers, & sometimes on my eyelids. Well urticaria, progressed to chronic urticaria, to erythema multiforme. My dermatologist did lab work & started me on Valtrex as well. With that I still didn't see much difference, I would still break out at the drop of a hat. Since then, I've found out that I'm extremely sensitive to aspirin, ibuprofen, latex, insect bites, & direct exposure to the sun for prolonged periods of time, especially on beach vacations. It got to the point where I would go to the ER when I just couldn't take it anymore. I would tell them what to do for me. Levaquin, Benadryl, & prevacid by IV. Miraculously, you could see my skin clearing up whil the IV was going. The only medication that has helped me every single time is hydroxyzine (Vistaril). It is very similar to benadryl but it works alot better. As far as the dark spots, mine have cleared up over time. I've been strugglin with this for about 18 years! Fashion Fair the Vantex cream it good for skin discoloration.

I hope this helps someone! Feel free to write me back!!
Avatar universal
Summary:
To completely prevent recurring Erythema Multiforme, apply a high SPF lip balm (Blistex 5-star protection or similar) anytime you have sun exposure.  Apply even if you are only going to be in the sun for 30 seconds.  
During an EM outbreak, use Petroleum Jelly on blisters and in places susceptible to blistering.

My Story:
I was first diagnosed with EM-minor in 2004 (age 24).  The doctor prescribed Valtrex 500mg/day.  His position was that the cold sores were bringing about the EM.  That seemed to make sense because I had my first cold sore around that time.  But the outbreaks continued with increasing duration, degree, and frequency.  I had only blisters on the hands, feet, and elbows in the beginning.  But an outbreak in 2008 sent me to the emergency room because a blister was so close to my eye.  The doctor suggested that I use petroleum jelly (which is ok to get in your eyes).  That brings me to the first real helpful form of EM mitigation – Petroleum Jelly.  Using petroleum jelly on the areas of skin that are blistered or that I think may become blistered due to trauma has significantly improved my condition.  It doesn’t prevent an episode of EM, but petroleum jelly does seem to make an outbreak more manageable.  During an outbreak, I ALWAYS keep a coating of petroleum jelly on my hands and the tender skin near my eyes.  

Though I continued the 500mg/day of Valtrex, I was not convinced it was helping.  The petroleum jelly was good, but it did nothing to prevent an outbreak.  I continued to search for a better solution.  I realized that an OTC medicine I had taken for years named Prilosec shows EM as a rare side effect.  I immediately discontinued it, but continued to suffer EM outbreaks.  Though the frequency of EM episodes had consistently increased over time, the frequency really took off after I moved to NYC in 2009.  What had begun as a condition that caused 2 or 3 outbreaks per year had become almost every month or 2.  Healing lesions from previous outbreaks would still be visible by the onset of the next outbreak.  Erythema Multiforme outbreaks went from being an annoyance to something that was ruining my life.  

I finally went back to the drawing board and thought about the EM-cold sore link.  I suffered EM without visible cold sores, but never visible cold sores without EM.  Perhaps attacking cold sores more aggressively would help.  I remembered reading that EM is more common in the spring, when people are outside in the sun.  I searched online and learned that sun exposure on the lips can be a leading cause of cold sores.  I remembered that my EM episode frequency increased after relocating to NYC (where I walk in the sun instead of drive).  Putting 2 and 2 together, perhaps sun exposure on the lips is somehow triggering EM outbreaks.  In spring 2010, I started using SPF 30 lip balm (Blistex or Chap-stick) before going out in the sun, even if I’m only going to be in the sun for 30 seconds.  
I have only had 2 outbreaks of Erythema Multiforme since that time, both occurred just after unprotected sun exposure.   The first was in October 2010.  I went for a walk on the beach and forgot to bring lip balm.  I told myself that a few minutes of sun exposure shouldn’t hurt.  But less than 1 week later I had EM blisters on my hands, feet, elbows, and face.   Then in March 2011 I visited a park and forgot to carry the Blistex with me.  I thought that any UV exposure would be minimal, since it was like 6pm.  But a few days later I suffered another episode of Erythema Multiforme.  I am not suggesting that high SPF lip balm will cure your EM, but it has been 100% effective for me (assuming that I actually apply it).
I have also obtained a prescription for Denavir online. I considered applying a small amount to my lips weekly for prevention, even though it is not indicated for such. But I haven’t felt the need to test this method because the Bistex has been so helpful.  If you have been struggling to come to grips with Erythema Multiforme, please try using a high SPF lip balm several times per day.  Give it a shot and see what happens.  Good luck in your quest for getting your life back from this horrible condition.

-Matt  
Avatar universal
hello.. i have this and it is very annoying. is there anthing you use for the scarring? i have just had a boob job and have come out so bad in it. got it everywhere. thought maybe it was from the antibiotics or the anasthetic? but i get it anyway from hsv1 virus. so not sure if it just that. hoping its not from my implants. im not allergic to latex or anthing so. any help?
Avatar universal
I got it from an allergy to Antibiotics whilst having a chest infection, then allergy from morphine patches.  I have large red parches where the targets were.  they have faded slightly but not a lot. I had the first bout in February 2106. so it is early days I suppose, but I am going on holiday in 7 weeks and hoped that they would have gone by then, but reading these posts I think they are going to stay with me.
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