Dermatitis Herpetiformis Treatment Explained

Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) is “a blistering, intensely itchy skin rash.” It’s usually symmetrical in shape and is most commonly located on the elbows, knees, buttocks, and upper back. People can experience the rash on other parts of the body, and severity of symptoms can vary.

Just as with celiac disease, the prescribed treatment is the gluten-free diet. Once you’ve completely eliminated gluten from the diet, an alleviation of the rash can take “months,” says the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD).

Additionally, Dapsone can cause an improvement in DH “in days.” The drug does have side effects, and for this reason, treatment begins with small doses of the drug, gradually increased until the symptoms become suppressed.

Due to the side effects of Dapsone, blood tests will be conducted weekly or bi-weekly for the first three months of treatment. According to the AOCD, “There are a few alternative treatments if Dapsone cannot be used (sulfapyridine, tetracycline), however these do not work as well.”

For diagnosis and treatment, you should make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.


Miranda Jade


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One thought on “Dermatitis Herpetiformis Treatment Explained

  1. Miranda,

    I too have celiac disease with DH as my primary manifestation. Although I have been gluten free for about five years I lived with CD/DH for over 40 years. Initially I was on Dapsone which did a wonderful job of controlling the DH symptoms. After several years I suffered some serious side effects of the drug. I was switched to Sulfapyridine and had great control over my DH symptoms without any of the nasty effects of Dapsone. Once I went completely gluten free my symptoms totally went away and I’ve only had two very minor DH flares in five years!

    D Stuart

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