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Advances in Dermatology and Allergology/Postępy Dermatologii i Alergologii
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vol. 40
Letter to the Editor

Demodicosis as an opportunistic infection in a patient with Crohn’s disease treated with infliximab

Michał Niedźwiedź
Joanna Narbutt
Aleksandra Lesiak
Maria Wiśniewska-Jarosińska
Anita Gąsiorowska
Małgorzata Skibińska

Department of Dermatology, Paediatric Dermatology and Oncology, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland
Department of Gastroenterology, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland
Adv Dermatol Allergol 2023; XL (1): 171-172
Online publish date: 2022/09/09
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Demodicosis is a disease of the pilosebaceous unit, involving mainly face and head areas, caused by Demodex mites (Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis) [1]. These mites can be found in normal skin biopsies and are considered pathogenic if the density measured in standardized skin surface biopsy exceeds 5 mites per cm2 of the skin [1, 2]. Demodicosis can manifest as chronic inflammatory eruption resembling bacterial folliculitis, rosacea, perioral dermatitis, blepharitis and otitis externa [3]. In 2014, Chen and Plewig [1] proposed a new classification dividing human demodicosis into a primary and a secondary form. Secondary demodicosis occurs most commonly in immunosuppressed patients. In this group demodicosis symptoms appear most likely on the face and eyelids, but they can also manifest on other areas of the body. We would like to present a report on demodicosis in a patient with Crohn’s disease treated with an anti-TNF-a medication, infliximab.
A 27-year-old male presented in February 2019 to the dermatology outpatient department with a 6-month history of a red plaque on the left cheek. It started 3 months into the treatment with infliximab, introduced for an exacerbation of Crohn’s disease. According to the patient, it resembled a pustule on an erythematous base but gradually increased in size. On examination there was an infiltrated, erythematous and scaly plaque on the left cheek (Figure 1 A) and a much smaller one on the right one. Initially, a 2-month course of lymecycline (300 mg, once daily) was prescribed with no clinical improvement, therefore, a decision to take an incisional biopsy was made. Histopathological examination showed numerous Demodex mites within the enlarged hair follicles (Figure 2). Reactive lymphohistiocytic infiltrate was present under the epidermis, around hair follicles and blood vessels. The diagnosis of demodicosis was made and the treatment with oral metronidazole (250 mg, 3 times daily) for 2 weeks followed by topical metronidazole (1%, gel, once daily) for 1 month and topical ivermectin (1%, cream, once daily) for 3 months was prescribed. Over the following weeks the patient’s skin condition improved until the lesions completely subsided (Figure 1 B). During follow-up visits in September 2019 and 12 months later, the skin of the left cheek was smooth, with some postinflammatory hyperpigmentation and a small scar present at the biopsy site.
Biological agents targeting TNF-a...

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