Pyoderma gangrenosum

How might pyoderma gangrenosum be treated?

Although antibiotics are often prescribed prior to having a correct diagnosis (and may be continued if there is a secondary infection or surrounding cellulitis), antibiotics are generally not helpful for treating uncomplicated cases of pyoderma gangrenosum. The best documented treatments are systemic corticosteroids and cyclosporin A. Smaller ulcers may be treated with strong topical steroid creams, steroid injections, special dressings, oral anti-inflammatory antibiotics, and/or other therapies. More severe cases typically require immunosuppressive therapy (used to decrease the body's immune responses). Combinations of steroids with cytotoxic drugs may be used in resistant cases. There has reportedly been rapid improvement of pyoderma gangrenosum with use of anti-tumor necrosis alpha therapy (such as infliximab), which is also used to treat Crohn's disease and other conditions. Skin transplants and/or the application of bioengineered skin is useful in selected cases as a complementary therapy to immunosuppressive treatment. The use of modern wound dressings is helpful to minimize pain and the risk of secondary infections. Treatment for pyoderma gangrenosum generally does not involve surgery because it can result in enlargement of the ulcer; however, necrotic tissue (dying or dead tissue) should be gently removed.

More detailed information about the treatment of pyoderma gangrenosum is available on the Treatment and Medication pages of Medscape Reference.

Last updated on 05-01-20

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