Which factors increase the mortality risk of bullous pemphigoid (BP)?

Updated: Oct 14, 2020
  • Author: Lawrence S Chan, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Bullous pemphigoid is a chronic inflammatory disease. If untreated, the disease can persist for months or years, with periods of spontaneous remissions and exacerbations. In most patients who are treated, bullous pemphigoid remits within 1.5-5 years. Patients with aggressive or widespread disease, those requiring high doses of corticosteroids and immunosuppressive agents, and those with underlying medical problems have increased morbidity and risk of death. Because the average age at onset of bullous pemphigoid is about 65 years, patients with bullous pemphigoid frequently have other comorbid conditions that are common in elderly persons, thus making them more vulnerable to the adverse effects of corticosteroids and immunosuppressive agents.

Bullous pemphigoid may be fatal, particularly in patients who are debilitated. The proximal causes of death are infection with sepsis and adverse events associated with treatment. Patients receiving high-dose corticosteroids and immunosuppressants are at risk for peptic ulcer disease, GI bleeds, agranulocytosis, and diabetes.

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