Erythema Multiforme: A Painful Condition


I read your article on erythema multiforme1 with interest, as I have suffered from this condition for the last 30 years. I had 2 cold sores in my dentistry graduation picture. Around the time I was married, almost 28 years ago, I went on to erythema multiforme major, maybe even Stevens-Johnson syndrome. I was not able to eat for days or weeks due to the sores in my mouth and elsewhere.

I was treated with prednisone several times. I was a subject in the double-blind trial on acyclovir cream at McMaster University, but even after receiving the acyclovir, my herpes was not controlled. I subsequently kept my herpes—and by extension, my erythema multiforme—under control with idoxuridine 0.1%. I start at the thought of a cold sore tickle, which I address with aggressive topical therapy. I have not had a serious herpetic outbreak for many years. I carry idoxuridine with me at all times, and prednisone if I travel. I feel better not taking oral acyclovir on a continuous basis.

Dr. Laszlo Szoke
Hamilton, Ontario


  1. Osterne RL, Matos Brito RG, Pacheco IA, Alves AP, Sousa FB. Management of erythema multiforme associated with recurrent herpes infection: a case report. J Can Dent Assoc. 2009;75(8):597-601. Availible: