Pityriasis Rosea

Pityriasis Rosea is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • A self-limited skin exanthem of unknown origin primarily affecting children and young adults
  • Skin findings often begin with an isolated “herald patch,” an ovoid erythematous raised lesion seen along the trunk and extremities
  • A secondary eruption usually follows, where multiple smaller exanthems appear along the Langer lines of the trunk and proximal extremities in a symmetric “Christmas tree pattern”
  • Nearly 80% of symptoms resolve within 2 mo


  • Unknown, although there is weak evidence for a viral etiology such as herpes 6 and 7
  • Many medications have been associated with a pityriasis-like reaction:
    • Barbiturates
    • Captopril
    • Clonidine
    • Gold
    • Isotretinoin
    • Metronidazole
    • Bismuth
    • Hepatitis B vaccine
    • Gleevec
    • Interferon
  • Eczema, asthma, and underlying malignancies may be weakly associated

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