Erythrodermic Psoriasis

Erythrodermic psoriasis is a rare type of psoriasis.

It affects about 2 percent of people living with psoriasis.

(Boyd & Menter, 1989)

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Erythrodermic [eh-REETH-ro-der-mik] psoriasis often affects nearly the entire body and can be life-threatening.

Erythrodermic psoriasis disrupts your body's normal temperature and fluid balance. This may lead to shivering episodes and edema (swelling from fluid retention) in parts of the body, such as in the feet or ankles. You may also have a higher risk of infection, pneumonia and heart failure.

See a health care provider immediately if you are experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Severe redness/discoloration and shedding of skin over a large area of the body
  • Exfoliation often occurs in large "sheets" instead of smaller scales
  • Skin looks as if it has been burned
  • Heart rate increases
  • Severe itching and pain
  • Body temperature goes up and down, especially on very hot or cold days

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Triggers of erythrodermic psoriasis include:

  • Allergic reaction to a medicine that causes a rash or other skin symptoms
  • Certain medicines, such as systemic steroids
  • Starting or stopping medicines
  • Infections/severe illness
  • Severe sunburn
  • Stress
  • Alcohol use


If you experience an erythrodermic flare, immediately contact your health care provider for treatment. The first goal for treating erythrodermic psoriasis is to get your body temperature and fluid balance back to normal. Depending on how severe your symptoms are, you may need to be hospitalized for treatment. The treatment plan may change after your erythrodermic symptoms have cleared. Your provider may recommend topical treatments, oral treatments or biologics for continued management of your psoriasis.

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Boyd, A. S., & Menter, A. (1989). Erythrodermic psoriasis. Precipitating factors, course, and prognosis in 50 patients. J Am Acad Dermatol, 21(5 Pt 1), 985-991.

Last updated on 10/08/20 by the National Psoriasis Foundation.

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