The FP suspected acute systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) with an acute cutaneous component. Laboratory testing showed a very high level of antinuclear antibodies. The patient was referred to Rheumatology and Dermatology. The dermatologist was available for a phone consult and suggested starting the patient on prednisone 60 mg/d as the Medrol Dosepak that the patient previously received had insufficient prednisolone for this severe flare of acute cutaneous lupus.
Although the classic description of acute SLE involves a butterfly rash, the rash of acute cutaneous lupus can include other areas of the face and body. As was seen in this case, the nasolabial fold tends to be spared and there are often skin erosions and crusting.
Based on the patient’s lab tests and symptoms, the dermatologist determined that the patient met the criteria for SLE. The patient was started on hydroxychloroquine 400 mg/d. The plan was to taper the patient’s prednisone slowly. By the following week, her skin and fatigue were much improved.
Photos and text for Photo Rounds Friday courtesy of Richard P. Usatine, MD. This case was adapted from: Pye A, Mayeaux EJ, Mishra V, et al. Lupus. In: Usatine R, Smith M, Mayeaux EJ, et al, eds. Color Atlas and Synopsis of Family Medicine. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2019:1183-1193.
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