Amniotic Membranes Effective for Serious Skin Disease

Treatment effective when combined with intravenous immunoglobulin

TUESDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- A patient with a rare life-threatening skin disease involving detachment of the skin over half the body recovered completely after being given intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and placing amniotic membranes on the affected areas, according to a case study reported in the June issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Rodrigo Schwartz, M.D., from the University of Chile in Santiago, and colleagues report the case of a 36-year-old Chilean woman who developed an acute abdominal skin eruption after treatment with escalating doses of lamotrigine for depressive disorder. By the next day, she developed a fever of 38.5 degrees Celsius and a generalized erythematous maculopapular skin eruption that became bullous, with epidermal detachment affecting half of the body surface area.

The patient was diagnosed with toxic epidermal necrolysis and treated with IVIG, but little response was observed after five days. The patient continued to receive IVIG, and areas of epidermal detachment were covered with four fresh amniotic membranes from Caesarean deliveries. She improved dramatically within 24 hours, and the affected skin was completely re-epithelialized after five days, the report indicates.

"Although more studies are needed to make definite conclusions, we believe that amniotic membranes in association with IVIG may prove to be effective coadjuvant treatments in the treatment of toxic epidermal necrolysis," Schwartz and colleagues conclude.

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