Women's Health

Define of Erythema Multiforme and Symptoms, Causes Erythema Multiforme | 2021

Define of Erythema Multiforme and Symptoms, Causes Erythema Multiforme | 2021
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What to know about Multiforme Erythema?

Erythema multiforme is a skin immune response that can be caused by an illness or medicine. Its name incorporates the Latin “erythema” (redness), “multi” (many), and “forme” (shapes) and defines the main symptom, a rash on the body that resembles a bullseye for each mark.


Erythema multiforme may affect persons of any age, with 20 percent of cases representing infants. It more frequently happens, though, in young adults between the ages of 20 and 30 years. In men, it is more common, affecting five men for every one woman.

Multiforme Erythema may be mild or major. Generally, erythema multiforme minor is a benign disease that produces a rash in the skin. Erythema multiforme major can be more serious and more intensive therapy is usually expected.

What is Erythema-Multiforme?

Erythema multiforme is a skin reaction that may be caused by certain medications or infections. Usually it’s slight and after a couple of weeks it goes down.

There is also an unusual, serious type that can be life-threatening and can damage the lips, genitals and eyes. This is known as Multiforme Major erythema.

Erythema multiforme affects adults under 40 predominantly, although it can occur at any age.


Erythema multiforme is a skin condition deemed to be an allergic response to an illness or medication. The signs are symmetrical, swollen, raised patches of the skin that can occur around the whole body. On fingers and toes, they do appear to be more visible.

Sometimes, these patches look like “targets” (dark circles with purple-grey centers). The skin condition will appear over and over again and each time typically lasts for 2 to 4 weeks.

Very commonly, the herpes simplex virus causes this disease. Mycoplasma pneumonia as well as fungal infections have also been linked with it.

The following can involve other causes:

  • An interaction with a certain medicine
  • Other infectious diseases
  • Certain vaccines

What Causes Erythema Multiforme?

Very commonly, the herpes simplex virus causes this skin problem.

Additional causes are:

  • Infections of fungi and viruses, such as mycoplasma pneumonia
  • Interaction of such medications, such as antibiotics or anti-inflammatory nonsteroidal drugs
  • Some conditions that are contagious
  • Some vaccines, for example, for hepatitis B
  • EM is an allergic reaction type. It happens in response to an infection in most cases. It is caused by such medications or body-wide (systemic) disease in extreme cases.

Infections that can contribute to EM include:

  • Viruses that trigger cold sores and genital herpes, such as herpes simplex (most common)
  • Bacteria that cause lung infections, such as Mycoplasma pneumonia
  • Funguses that cause histoplasmosis, such as Histoplasma capsulatum

Medicines that can contribute to EM include:

  • About NSAIDs
  • Allopurinol’ (treats gout)
  • Such antibiotics, such as aminopenicillin and sulfonamides,
  • Medicines with anti-convulsions

Systemic EM-associated diseases include:

  • Bowel autoimmune disorders, such as Crohn’s disease
  • Erythematosus chronic lupus
  • In adults aged 20 to 40 years, EM mainly exists. People with EM may have members of their families who have already had EM.
  • The cause of erythema multiforme is always unknown, but the response to an infection or medication occurs in several cases.
  • The disease will not be transferred from individual to individual.


A bacterial infection, mostly the herpes simplex (cold sore) virus, affects the majority of cases. Typically, this virus is dormant in the body, although it can be reactivated from time to time.

A few days before the rash begins, certain persons will get a cold sore.

Mycoplasma bacteria, a type of bacteria that often triggers chest infections, may also induce Erythema multiforme.


The more serious type of erythema multiforme may sometimes be triggered by certain medications. Possible causes for medicine include:

  • Sulfonamides, tetracyclines, amoxicillin, and ampicillin antibiotics
  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as ibuprofen
  • Anticonvulsants such as phenytoin and barbiturates (used to treat epilepsy),

Who is in risk of erythema multiforme?

Erythema multiforme can be acquired from anybody.

But the chance can be raised by these variables:

  • To be male.
  • Being between your 20s and 40s, but it can happen at any age.

Symptoms and Signs.

The most prominent signs of erythema multiforme are those below:

Sudden red spots and blisters, usually on the palms of your paws, the soles of your feet, and your forehead.

Flat, round “targets” red (dark circles with purple-grey centers)

Itching The Itching

Hot sores, sores


Pains in the joint

A fever

Cough and breathing problems, which are symptoms of an illness that triggers the disease

A 38°C or higher fever or body temperature

A vague sensation, even before the rash emerges, of being unwell

Pressure in the knees and swelling

If the mucus is present, painful lesions

Other skin conditions can mimic the symptoms of erythema multiforme. For a diagnosis, please consult with the healthcare provider.

Most lesions of erythema multiforme are not painful, but certain persons may feel a feeling of burning. Mucus lesions, such as those on the lips, nose, genitals, or eyes, may, however, be painful.


Erythema multiforme occurs on the distal extremities (often involving the hands and soles) and the face as the abrupt onset of asymptomatic, erythematic macules, papules, wheals, vesicles, bullae, or a mixture.

With a violaceous core and a pink halo divided by a pale ring, the classic lesion is annular (target or iris lesion). The distribution is symmetric and centripetal, extending to the trunk occasionally. There is scratching in some patients.

Is Infectious Erythema Multiforme?

No, from person to person, the rash can’t spread. The infection can spread if an infection triggers it. But anyone else who has the illness does not have the rash as well.

How Diagnosed Is Erythema Multiforme?

To diagnose erythema multiforme, blood tests are not needed, which doctors can normally recognize by looking at the rash.

Occasionally, to rule out other problems, a skin biopsy could be required. To do this, a doctor will take a small sample of the skin from the infected region and will send it for examination to a laboratory.

Doctors can do an X-ray of the chest if they believe the cause is mycoplasma pneumonia.

Erythema multiforme is often confused with Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis because skin reactions of this kind show similar symptoms.

Doctors realize that, from looking at it, it is erythema multiforme. The specialist will inquire about any previous illness the kid has experienced and any drugs he or she needs to help find out what caused it. Often, they don’t know the cause.

Medical Review.

Erythema multiforme is identified by clinical appearance; a biopsy is rarely performed.

Core urticaria, vasculitis, bullous pemphigoid, pemphigus, longitudinal IgA dermatosis, acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis and dermatitis herpetiformis are included in the differential diagnosis.

Aphthous stomatitis, pemphigus, herpetic stomatitis, and hand-foot-and-mouth disease have to be differentiated from oral lesions.

Instead of erythema multiforme, patients with broadly disseminated purplish macules and blisters and severe trunk and face involvement are likely to have Stevens-Johnson syndrome.


Your healthcare professional will discuss particular treatment for erythema multiforme with you depending on:

  • Your generation, general health, and history of medicine
  • The severity of the illness
  • Step of the disease
  • Your tolerance for particular medications, techniques, or treatments
  • Expectations for the conditional course
  • Your choice or view

Erythema multiforme minor is typically resolved on its own, but occasionally care is required. If symptoms continue, a physician may administer topical steroids.

There is a lot of care needed for Erythema multiforme major. Individuals with oozing lesions will require pain relievers and bandages. They will also continue to receive intravenous fluids from an IV line if they lose a lot of blood from the blisters, preferably in a hospital area if the lesions are severe.

Any physicians recommend using an oral antiviral drug called acyclovir if HSV induces a skin reaction. As a prevention tool for chronic cases of erythema multiforme arising from HSV, Acyclovir may be especially helpful.

If the rash is caused by mycoplasma pneumonia, doctors can prescribe antibiotics such as macrolides, tetracyclines, or azithromycin.

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