JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Bullous Systemic Lupus Erythematosus as an Initial Manifestation of SLE.

Bullous systemic lupus erythematosus (BSLE) is a rare subset of systemic lupus erythematosus that is often associated with autoimmunity to type VII collagen. We describe a 45-year-old woman with BSLE who presented with vesiculobullous lesions as an initial manifestation of SLE. The patient first noticed a widespread urticarial, erythematous eruption associated with tense blisters, erosions, and crusting. She was diagnosed with bullous pemphigoid and underwent a one-month course of treatment with betamethazone. Because of the appearance of marked proteinuria, a subsequent renal biopsy, and serological tests, the patient was diagnosed with rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. The patient's IgG circulating antibodies labeled the dermal floor of salt-split skin and recognized type VII collagen in immunoblot studies. Although methylprednisolone pulse therapy for glomerulonephritis did not alleviate the vesicullobullous eruption, treatment with dapsone resulted in dramatic disappearance of the lesions. Cessation of dapsone therapy due to hemolysis with Heinz-body formation did not aggravate the bullous disease. Our case illustrates that a generalized vesiculobullous eruption can be the sole presenting manifestation of SLE. It also emphasizes the close temporal relationship between BSLE and lupus nephritis.

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