Dermatitis Herpetiformis - Western SummaryWestern Medicine Summary

Western Medicine

Western Summary

Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) is a skin condition commonly found on the elbows, knees, and buttocks, ninety percent of DH patients also have celiac disease or gluten-sensitive enteropathy.


Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) are clusters of itchy pink bumps that later turn into blisters that crust over when scratched. 


People with DH and celiac disease are unable to tolerate the proteins found in gluten. Some examples of foods with gluten include barley, rye, and wheat. Although less common, DH can be associated with other autoimmune disorders, such as type-1 diabetes, vitiligo, alopecia areata, and Addison disease. People with DH also tend to have a higher risk of getting Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.


Several medications that are used for treatment include: 

  • Dapsone is an anti-inflammatory medication that is used frequently by healthcare professionals to treat dermatitis herpetiformis. This medication requires a blood test to check if your body may be too sensitive to take dapsone.  
  • Topical or systemic steroids provide an antiinflammatory effect. 
  • Anti-inflammatory medications such as colchicine and sulfapyridine to reduce inflamation if dapsone is not available or not a safe option.

Because gluten can flare this condition, gluten can be substituted in the diet for other grain-like foods, such as quinoa. Many foods are rated as gluten-free making it easier to find foods that are safe and healthy.