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Association of pemphigus and systemic corticosteroid use with comorbid health disorders: A case-control study


Background: Pemphigus is a group of debilitating autoimmune blistering disorders associated with painful blisters of the skin and/or mucous membranes. Identification and management of the comorbiditiesof pemphigus is critically important to minimize morbidity and decrease mortality.

Objective: To identify the comorbid health conditions of pemphigus vulgaris.

Methods: This was a case-control study of 130 cases of pemphigus verified by a clinical and laboratory diagnosis and 390 age and sex-matched controls with complete follow-up at a large metropolitanquaternary care medical center.

Results: Pemphigus vulgaris and its treatments were significantly associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (adjusted odds ratio [95% confidence interval]: 5.68 [2.93-11.02]), hypertension (2.15 [1.25-

3.71]), osteopenia (10.07 [3.72-27.25]), osteoporosis (4.19 [1.50-11.73]), cataracts (7.00 [1.81-27.07]), insomnia (15.00 [1.75-128.39]), and benign prostatic hyperplasia (6.84 [1.79-26.18]). A history of taking systemic corticosteroids was found in 76% of pemphigus vulgaris patients. There were significant statistical interactions between pemphigus vulgaris and a history of using systemic corticosteroids as predictors of diabetes mellitus type 2, hypertension, osteoporosis, and insomnia.

Conclusions: Safer and more effective systemic treatment options are needed for pemphigus to minimize iatrogenic complications of disease.

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