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November 1947


Arch Derm Syphilol. 1947;56(5):614-628. doi:10.1001/archderm.1947.01520110060008

DERMATITIS herpetiformis has challenged the therapeutic ingenuity of physicians since it was first described by Duhring1 in 1884. Until the advent of sulfonamide drugs the therapeutic endeavors of dermatologists consisted of giving some form of inorganic arsenic, such as solution of potassium arsenite and "Asiatic pills". (contain arsenous acid and black pepper) by mouth and sodium arsenate by subcutaneous injection. Other measures, such as the application of sulfur ointment, autohemotherapy, intestinal antisepsis by high colonic irrigation, catharsis and the removal of foci of infection were attended with indifferent results.

For many years dermatitis herpetiformis was thought by many to be the cutaneous expression of bacterial allergy. It was with this in mind that physicians welcomed the opportunity to try the sulfonamide drugs in the treatment of this inveterate dermatosis.

Dostrovsky and his associates2 concluded from experimental work on animals that dermatitis herpetiformis was caused by some filterable virus