Depending on the size and depth of your skin lesions, it can take weeks or months for them to heal. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully regarding wound care. This is especially important because many of the oral medications prescribed for pyoderma gangrenosum suppress your immune system, which increases your risk of infection.
High doses of corticosteroids, such as prednisone, are the mainstay of pyoderma gangrenosum treatment. Side effects can include thinning bones, weight gain and increased risk of infection. To reduce the amount of prednisone needed, your doctor might recommend that you also take anti-rejection drugs, such as cyclosporine, or medications used more commonly for rheumatoid arthritis.
In most cases, surgery isn't a good treatment option because trauma to the skin may worsen existing ulcers or stimulate new ones to develop. But if the ulcers on your skin are large and need help with healing, your doctor might suggest a skin graft — a procedure that surgically attaches a piece of real or artificial skin over the open sores. This is attempted only after the wound inflammation has gone and the ulcer has started healing.
Nov. 27, 2012
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- Dabade TS, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of the neutrophilic dermatoses (pyoderma gangrenosum, Sweet's syndrome). Dermatologic Therapy. 2011;24:273.
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- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Sept. 27, 2012.