(Last Updated On: July 7, 2020)

Niña A. Gabaton, MD, DPDS, Daisy K. Ismael, MD, FPDS


Introduction: Exfoliative dermatitis is a potentially life- threatening inflammatory reaction that poses a significant risk for morbidity and mortality. Several underlying etiologies of this dermatologic condition include pre-existing dermatoses, drugs and malignancy. Although it is a common disease entity, local studies on exfoliative dermatitis published in literature are very limited.

Objective: The primary objective of this study is to determine the epidemiological profile of patients with exfoliative dermatitis diagnosed at University of Santo Tomas Hospital Dermatology department from January 2008 to December 2012.

Methods: Inpatient and outpatient clinical records of patients diagnosed and treated as exfoliative dermatitis were retrieved. The prevalence, clinical presentation, history of previous dermatoses or use of any drugs/topical medications, family history and accompanying systemic symptoms were reviewed and analyzed.

Results: A total of 67 patients were included in this retrospective study. The prevalence among patients with exfoliative dermatitis in this study was computed at 1 per 1000 dermatologic patients. The highest number of cases belonged to the group aged seventy-one to seventy-nine (25.4%) with a mean age of 56.62 years. There was a male predilection (65.7%). Clinical presentation of patients included pruritus, generalized scaling and erythema, accompanied by bipedal edema (41.8%), chills (22.4%), fever (T ≥ 38 °C), lymphadenopathies (6%) and joint pains (4.5%). Several etiologic factors of exfoliative dermatitis recorded were: pre-existing dermatosis (67.2%), idiopathic or undetermined causes (19.4%), drug-induced (10.4%) and malignancy (3%).

Conclusion: Exfoliative dermatitis is a condition more commonly found in the older age group. Pre-existing dermatoses, drugs and malignancy are etiologic factors. The most common pre-existing dermatosis causing exfoliative dermatitis in this study is psoriasis while the most implicated drug is allopurinol.

Key words: exfoliative dermatitis, erythroderma, epidemiology

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