What to Know About Discoid Lupus Erythematosus

Ines Martins, PhD avatar

by Ines Martins, PhD |

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Discoid Lupus Erythematosus, or DLE, is a chronic skin condition that causes sores, inflammation, and scarring, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. These sores or lesions appear red and inflamed with a scaly appearance.

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If the condition’s suspected, it’s necessary to perform a skin biopsy, as the symptoms can be similar to other existing skin conditions. If the biopsy results are positive, then sometimes other blood tests can be required in order to confirm the results.

A steroid cream such as cortisone can be applied to the lesions and is often effective in improving the sores and slowing down their progression. Cortisone injections are also another treatment option and are often more effective than applying a cream. Calcineurin inhibitors, pimecrolimus cream or tacrolimus ointment can also help slow down the progression of the lesions. If the lesions are considered to be becoming unsightly then a drug called  hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) can be used. Due to the potency of the drug, patients following this line of treatment are required to have regular blood and eye tests.

Patients of DLE who have sensitivity to the sun should always wear a sun hat and a UVA/UVB sun-blocking cream. Patients should have regular six-month checkups to ensure that the disease is not spreading to internal organs.

MORE: Find out how wearing sun block can help DLE symptoms.

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