Guttate Psoriasis

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by Dermnet NZ
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What is guttate psoriasis?

Guttate psoriasis is psoriasis that is characterised by multiple small scaly plaques on the trunk and limbs. ‘Gutta’ is Latin for a drop; guttate psoriasis looks like a shower of red, scaly teardrops that have fallen down on the body.

Who gets guttate psoriasis?

Guttate psoriasis tends to affect children and young adults of both sexes and all races. 

What causes guttate psoriasis?

Guttate psoriasis often follows a streptococcal infection of the throat or an upper respiratory tract viral infection. There may be a genetic disposition to psoriasis. 

What are the clinical features of guttate psoriasis?

Guttate psoriasis comes on very quickly, and within a few days, small red scaly plaques may spread widely.  Occasionally there may be only a few scattered lesions in total.

The psoriasis plaques are usually concentrated around the trunk and upper arms and thighs. Face, ears and scalp are also commonly affected but the lesions may be very faint and quickly disappear in these areas.

How is guttate psoriasis diagnosed?

The diagnosis of guttate psoriasis is made by the combination of history, clinical appearance of the rash, and evidence for preceding infection.

Guttate psoriasis

See more images of guttate psoriasis.

What is the treatment of guttate psoriasis?

Treatment for guttate psoriasis may include:

Guttate psoriasis rarely requires treatment with oral medications.

What is the outcome for guttate psoriasis?

Guttate psoriasis often spontaneously clears within three or four months. Some people have persistent small or large plaque psoriasis. Another flare of guttate psoriasis may follow a streptococcal throat infection.

Author: Dr Amy Stanway, Department of Dermatology, Waikato Hospital, Hamilton, New Zealand, 2004.

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