Healio Rheumatology, May 2017
Patients with serious skin complications associated with rheumatic diseases may face a host of obstacles. Misdiagnosis is common. They are treated with non-curative therapies that can carry complications. Where rheumatology ends and dermatology begins is often a blurry line, so patients find themselves volleying between specialties. They veer in and out of remission.
Victoria Werth, MD, professor in the Department of Dermatology and Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and chief of dermatology at the Philadelphia VA Hospital, is part of a group of so-called “rheum-derms” who specialize in this patient population. “We see patients who have lupus or dermatomyositis or some other rheumatic disease,” she said. “With many of these diseases, a large percentage have skin manifestations that are the predominant problem, but frequently both dermatologists and rheumatologists do not feel they have the expertise to manage them, so they fall between the cracks.”