Conference Coverage

Don’t call it perioral dermatitis


 

REPORTING FROM SDEF HAWAII DERMATOLOGY SEMINAR

The rash commonly called perioral dermatitis is more appropriately termed periorificial dermatitis, according to Jessica Sprague, MD, a pediatric dermatologist at the University of California, San Diego, and Rady Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Jessica Sprague, pediatric dermatologist at the University of California, San Diego, and Rady Children's Hospital Bruce Jancin/MDedge News

Dr. Jessica Sprague

Years ago, some of her senior colleagues at the children’s hospital carried out a retrospective study of 79 patients, aged 6 months to 18 years, who were treated for what’s typically called perioral dermatitis. Of note, only 40% of patients had isolated perioral involvement, while 30% of the patients had no perioral lesions at all. Perinasal lesions were present in 43%, and 25% had periocular involvement, she noted at the Hawaii Dermatology Seminar provided by Global Academy for Medical Education/Skin Disease Education Foundation.

The peak incidence of periorificial dermatitis in this series was under age 5 years. At presentation, the rash had been present for an average of 8 months. Seventy-two percent of patients had a history of exposure to corticosteroids, most often in the form of topical steroids, but in some cases inhaled or systemic steroids.

“Obviously you want to discontinue the topical steroid. Sometimes you need to taper them off, or you can switch to a topical calcineurin inhibitor [TCI] because they tend to flare a lot when you stop their topical steroid, although there are cases of TCIs precipitating periorificial dermatitis, so keep that in mind,” Dr. Sprague said.

If a patient is on inhaled steroids by mask for asthma, switching to a tube can sometimes limit the exposure, she continued.

Dr. Jessica Sprague, University of California, San Diego; Rady Children's

A 4-year-old girl with a 4-week history of facial rash.

Her first-line therapy for mild to moderate periorificial dermatitis, and the one supported by the strongest evidence base, is metronidazole cream. Other topical agents shown to be effective include azelaic acid, sulfacetamide, clindamycin, and topical calcineurin inhibitors.

Oral therapy is a good option for more extensive or recalcitrant cases.

“If parents are very anxious, like before school photos or holiday photos, sometimes I’ll use oral therapy as well. In younger kids, I prefer erythromycin at 30 mg/kg per day t.i.d. for 3-6 weeks. In kids 8 years old and up you can use doxycycline at 50-100 mg b.i.d., again for 3-6 weeks. And you have to tell them it’s going to take a while for this to go away,” Dr. Sprague said.

She reported having no financial conflicts regarding her presentation.

SDEF/Global Academy for Medical Education and this news organization are owned by the same parent company.

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