erythema multiforme

Last reviewed 03/2021

Erythema multiforme is an acute, self limiting and at times recurring skin condition thought to occur due to a hypersensitivity reaction against certain infections and medications (1).

Erythema multiforme is a term describing target lesions - circular lesions often with central blister with a symmetrical peripheral distribution, usually on limbs.

There are often mouth, genital and eye ulcers and fever - Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

Previously the disease was thought to represent part of a clinical spectrum of disease which in ascending order of severity includes, erythema minor, erythema major (often known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome [SJS]), and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) (1).

With its minimal mucous membrane association and <10% epidermal detachment, erythema multiforme is now considered to be a distinct condition from SJS and TEN (1).

Frequently seen in adults between the ages of 20-40 years (1).

Click here for an example image of erythema multiforme