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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 14

of 'Oral isotretinoin therapy for acne vulgaris'

Acne fulminans: report of clinical findings and treatment of twenty-four patients.
Karvonen SL
J Am Acad Dermatol. 1993;28(4):572.
BACKGROUND: Acne fulminans is an ulcerative form of acne with an acute onset and systemic symptoms. It most commonly affects adolescent boys.
OBJECTIVE: Clinical and laboratory findings and treatment results of patients with acne fulminans were reviewed to obtain a better understanding of the clinical course and outcome of the disease.
METHODS: Data of patients with severe acne were collected from the Dermatology Departments of Finnish hospitals during the years 1970 to 1991.
RESULTS: Twenty-four patients with acne fulminans are described. All patients had ulcerative acne with acute onset. In 22 patients acne was associated with high fever for at least 1 week. All patients had musculoskeletal pain. Increased uptake in bone scan or radiographic findings compatible with an infectious origin were detected in 17 patients. Eight patients were treated with antibiotics alone, but the response was poor; three patients had a relapse of musculoskeletal symptoms. Ten patients were given systemic steroids in addition to antibiotics. In this group the response was rapid, but acne and musculoskeletal symptoms tended to relapse when the steroid dosage was reduced. Four patients were treated with a combination of antibiotics, systemic steroids, and isotretinoin; all responded well, but one of these patients also had a relapse.
CONCLUSION: Musculoskeletal symptoms are common in patients with acne fulminans. Systemic steroid treatment rapidly controls the skin lesions and systemic symptoms. The duration of steroid treatment should be 2 to 4 months to avoid relapses. Therapy with isotretinoin, antibiotics, or both was often combined with steroids, but the role of these agents is still uncertain.
Department of Dermatology, University Hospital of Oulu, Finland.