Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us Latest news News News articles

Hormone cream is a safe and effective treatment for blistering diseases with and without blisters

21 October 2013

Although the itching blistering disease bulleus pemphigoid (BP) and another variant of the disease without blisters are becoming more common, they are still proving difficult to diagnose. If diagnosed correctly, however, they can be effectively treated. This is the conclusion of research carried out by Jorrit Terra, dermatologist at the University Medical Center Groningen, who discovered that a hormone cream could be used to treat both types of blistering disease safely and effectively. He will be awarded a PhD for his research by the University of Groningen on 30 October 2013.

BP is a serious blistering skin disease that is most prevalent in the over-70s. When infected, the patient’s entire body can be covered with itching blisters. The blisters and lesions can also occur in the mucous membranes. As people are growing older and researchers are finding better diagnostic methods, the disease is becoming more commonly diagnosed. In addition, the elderly take more medication and certain drugs (such as diuretics) are known to cause blistering diseases.

Difficult to identify

BP is a difficult diagnosis for GPs, and the atypical variant known as ‘pruritic non-bullous pemphigoid’ (PNBP) is even more difficult to diagnose. According to Terra, some 10-20% of BP patients do not develop blisters, making the disease even trickier for GPs, doctors in nursing homes and even dermatologists to identify. Doctors often prescribe medication for another skin disorder, such as eczema, scurvy or dry skin, to little or no effect. ‘So the message for them and the dermatologists is this: if you are treating an elderly patient for resistant itching without blisters, it could very well be PNBP’, advises Terra.

Treatment with cream

Terra’s research shows that the two blistering diseases can be treated safely and effectively with a hormone cream called clobetasol propionate. In many cases, this dispenses with the need for treatment prednisone pills. ‘Applying the cream is much more time-consuming than taking a pill. It must be rubbed in from top to toe for several months. But it has fewer side effects than prednisone, which can cause osteoporosis, diabetes and hypertension. The cream, which enters the blood via the skin, has practically no side-effects. Having said this, the hormones in the cream do cause thinner skin in some patients.’

Curriculum Vitae

J.B. Terra (Amsterdam, 1978) studied Medicine at the VU University Amsterdam, passing his doctor’s exams with honours in 2004. He conducted his PhD research in the Dermatology department of the University Medical Center Groningen. His thesis is entitled ‘Studies on clinical symptoms, diagnosis and treatment in pemphigoid diseases’. Terra works as a dermatologist at the UMCG.

Last modified:13 March 2020 02.16 a.m.
View this page in: Nederlands

More news

  • 29 November 2023

    UMCG opent nieuwe faciliteit voor microbioomonderzoek 

    Vandaag opent het UMCG de Groningen Microbioom Hub: een nieuwe faciliteit met state-of-the-art technologie waarin alle UMCG-expertise op het gebied van microbioomonderzoek samenkomt. Dit zorgt voor unieke mogelijkheden in onderzoek en maakt nieuwe...

  • 28 November 2023

    Science: more exciting than showbiz

    Science often seems very complicated. Most people probably don't really know what researchers do, and what it takes to make a breakthrough. That is why it is important to keep the general public informed of what is happening in science, says Iris...

  • 13 November 2023

    UMCG beantwoordt vragen patiënten met hulp van AI

    Het UMCG zet kunstmatige intelligentie (artificial intelligence, afgekort AI) in om zorgverleners te helpen bij het beantwoorden van schriftelijke vragen van patiënten. Dit gebeurt in samenwerking met andere ziekenhuizen vanuit de EPIC Nederlandse...