Reed's Syndrome Symptoms, Causes, Testing, Treatment

What is Reed's Syndrome? 

Reed's syndrome, also known as lichen planus pemphigoides, is a rare autoimmune disorder that combines features of two different skin conditions: lichen planus and pemphigoid. Lichen planus is a condition that causes itchy, flat-topped, and purple-colored bumps on the skin or mucous membranes, while pemphigoid is a blistering skin disease that causes painful blisters and sores.

Reed's syndrome usually affects adults, and its symptoms can vary widely from person to person. Common symptoms of Reed's syndrome include itchy, reddish-purple bumps or plaques on the skin, blistering and erosions of the skin and mucous membranes, and nail abnormalities.

Reed's Syndrome Symptoms, Causes, Testing, Treatment

Reed's Syndrome Symptoms

The symptoms of Reed's syndrome can vary widely from person to person, but they generally involve a combination of skin and mucous membrane lesions. Some of the most common symptoms of Reed's syndrome include:

Reddish-purple bumps or plaques on the skin

These bumps or plaques may be flat or raised, and they can be itchy or painful. They often appear on the wrists, ankles, lower back, and the insides of the thighs.

Blisters and erosions

In some cases, Reed's syndrome can cause fluid-filled blisters on the skin or mucous membranes, which may break open and form painful erosions.

Nail abnormalities

Reed's syndrome can also affect the nails, causing ridges, grooves, or splitting.

Oral lesions

In some cases, Reed's syndrome can cause lesions on the inside of the mouth or other mucous membranes, leading to pain or difficulty eating or swallowing.


Many people with Reed's syndrome experience intense itching, which can be difficult to control.

Hair loss

In rare cases, Reed's syndrome may cause hair loss or thinning.

Reed's Syndrome Causes

The exact cause of Reed's syndrome is not yet fully understood, but it is believed to be an autoimmune disorder, which means that the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues. In Reed's syndrome, the immune system attacks the skin and mucous membranes, leading to the characteristic symptoms of the condition.

It is not clear what triggers the immune system to attack the body in this way, but several factors may be involved. These include genetic predisposition, exposure to certain medications or chemicals, and viral infections.

Some studies have suggested that Reed's syndrome may be associated with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, although not all people with Reed's syndrome have HCV, and not all people with HCV develop Reed's syndrome. Other viruses, such as the herpes simplex virus, have also been implicated in the development of Reed's syndrome.

In some cases, Reed's syndrome may occur as a reaction to medications or chemicals, such as certain antibiotics or dyes used in medical imaging tests. However, this is relatively rare.

Overall, the exact cause of Reed's syndrome is not yet fully understood, and further research is needed to better understand the underlying mechanisms and risk factors for this condition.

Reed's Syndrome Treatment

The treatment of Reed's syndrome depends on the severity of the symptoms and the individual patient's needs. In most cases, treatment involves a combination of medications and supportive care to manage symptoms and prevent complications.

Topical treatments

For mild cases of Reed's syndrome, topical medications such as corticosteroid creams or ointments may be used to reduce inflammation and itching.

Systemic medications

For more severe cases of Reed's syndrome, systemic medications may be necessary to suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation. These may include oral corticosteroids, immunosuppressant drugs, or biologic agents.


Phototherapy, which involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet light, may be used to help reduce inflammation and itching in some cases of Reed's syndrome.

Supportive care

People with Reed's syndrome may need supportive care to manage symptoms such as itching, pain, and blistering. This may include taking cool baths or using cool compresses to soothe the skin, using gentle skin care products, and avoiding triggers such as certain medications or environmental factors that may worsen symptoms.

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