Erythema Multiforme Quiz

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Caroline M. Doan, DO (Internal medicine)

Yukiko Ueda

Yukiko Ueda, MD (Dermatology)

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Learn more about Erythema Multiforme

Content updated on Sep 20, 2022

What is erythema multiforme?

Erythema multiforme is a condition affecting the skin and/or mucous membranes that usually occurs due to an excessive immune reaction triggered by an infection (commonly herpes simplex virus) or certain medications. Characteristically, it involves red, raised lesions that look like a target or "bullseye", and blisters can be seen as well. It can affect anyone, but it is more commonly seen in men and adults between ages 20-40 years.

Symptoms of erythema multiforme

  • Bumpy rash that appeared, then rapidly spread to the rest of the body

  • Skin redness or red bumpy rashes

Questions your doctor may ask to check for erythema multiforme

Your doctor may ask these questions to diagnose erythema multiforme

  • Did a small lump or bump on your skin suddenly spread all over your body?

  • Do you have red skin or red spots on the skin?

Treatment for erythema multiforme

Most cases are mild and require no further treatment. Medications to suppress inflammation and relieve symptoms are prescribed. Occasionally, serious cases require hospital admission.

View the symptoms of Erythema Multiforme

  • Red skin


  • Trayes KP, Love G, Studdiford JS. Erythema Multiforme: Recognition and Management. Am Fam Physician. 2019 Jul 15;100(2):82-88. PMID: 31305041.

  • Bennardo L, Nisticò SP, Dastoli S, Provenzano E, Napolitano M, Silvestri M, Passante M, Patruno C. Erythema Multiforme and COVID-19: What Do We Know? Medicina (Kaunas). 2021 Aug 16;57(8):828. doi: 10.3390/medicina57080828. PMID: 34441034; PMCID: PMC8401222.

  • Samim F, Auluck A, Zed C, Williams PM. Erythema multiforme: a review of epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical features, and treatment. Dent Clin North Am. 2013 Oct;57(4):583-96. doi: 10.1016/j.cden.2013.07.001. PMID: 24034067.

  • Grünwald P, Mockenhaupt M, Panzer R, Emmert S. Erythema multiforme, Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis - diagnosis and treatment. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2020 Jun;18(6):547-553. doi: 10.1111/ddg.14118. Epub 2020 May 29. PMID: 32469468.

Reviewed By:

Caroline M. Doan

Caroline M. Doan, DO (Internal medicine)

Yukiko Ueda

Yukiko Ueda, MD (Dermatology)

From our team of 50+ doctors

Just 3 minutes.
Developed by doctors.

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