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Scleredema. A multicentre study of characteristics, comorbidities, course and therapy in 44 patients.

BACKGROUND: The prognostic and therapeutic features of scleredema are poorly documented.

OBJECTIVES: To describe the characteristics of patients with scleredema regarding demographics, clinical characteristics, comorbidities, therapeutic interventions and course.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective multicentre study.

RESULTS: We identified 44 patients (26 men).The mean age at diagnosis was 53.8 years. The most common associated disorders were endocrine/metabolic diseases including 30 patients suffering from diabetes, mostly type 2 diabetes. Monoclonal gammopathies were confirmed in five cases. A preceding respiratory tract infection was not a feature. Treatments with different combination or sequential modalities were used with variable results. Phototherapy (UVA1 or PUVA) was the treatment associated with higher, although partial response. Systemic corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs were reserved to patients with severe disease in whom phototherapy had failed or for patients with multiple myeloma. Forty-one patients were followed up (mean period: 32.2 months).Thirty-nine patients are alive, 30 with and 9 without skin disease. Two patients died of cardiovascular complications due to myeloma and severe diabetes.

CONCLUSIONS: Scleredema is a chronic debilitating disease associated with diabetes and metabolic syndrome, unresponsive to various treatments but not necessarily a life-threatening condition. Although there is no definitive treatment, phototherapy should be attempted first. Treatment of primary disease including strict glycaemic control combined with physical therapy should be also employed.

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