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Dermatology Online Journal

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Significant improvement of dermatitis herpetiformis with tofacitinib


Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is a rare autoimmune blistering disorder in which patients with celiac disease, a gluten-sensitive enteropathy, present with a severely pruritic papulovesicular eruption over extensor surfaces such as the knees, elbows, lower back, buttocks, and neck. Patients are instructed to adhere to a gluten-free diet for purposes of improving their skin disease and gluten-sensitive enteropathy; this is the only treatment that lowers risk of enteropathy-associated T cell lymphoma. Patients who adhere to a strict gluten-free diet often have remission of their skin disease over months to years. Dapsone is a rapid and extremely effective first-line treatment option and often used while transitioning to a gluten-free diet. Aside from gluten-free diet and dapsone, second-line treatment options include sulfapyridine, sulfasalazine, and colchicine. Some patients have difficulty adhering to a gluten-free diet or develop intolerable side effects to systemic therapies. Furthermore, there is limited data on the use of the second-line treatments. Recent studies have shed light on the role of JAK-STAT-dependent pathways in the pathogenesis of dermatitis herpetiformis. We present a patient treated with tofacitinib, 5mg twice daily, an oral JAK1/3 inhibitor, who demonstrated clinical improvement of DH and control of new lesion development.

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