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Schamberg’s disease also known as purpura pigmentosa progressiva or progressive pigmented purpuric dermatitis is a chronic discoloration of the skin usually affecting the lower limbs. The discoloration is due to the deposition of haemosiderin as a result of blood leaking from tiny inflamed capillaries. The real cause of this disease is yet to be identified, but it is believed to be related to allergic reaction to some clothing dye, rubber, food preservatives, viral infection or secondary to drug reaction. Other condition that can influence the disease progression may be venous hypertension, exercise, and gravitational dependency.

Schamberg’s disease can occur at any age, any race and men are more affected then women. These disease may be confused with other purpuric disease. So your dermatologist may need to perform the skin biopsy and examine the sample under microscope.

The lesion most frequently occurs on lower limbs, but it can occur anywhere on the body. These lesion consist of irregular, itchy, purpuric patches of orange or fawn or brownish pigmentation with a characteristic ” cayenne pepper” spots usually localized on lower limbs. These purpura may last of up few weeks and occasionally longer. These patches may persist for many years.

Schamberg’s Disease
Schamberg’s Disease

There is no specific cure for Schamberg’s disease and as its not a life threatening, treatment is not always needed in many cases. Various treatment modalities have been tried which includes topical and systemic corticosteroids, vitamin C, laser therapy, topical and systemic anti-inflammatory agents. If there is any suspected precipitating factors or history of any allergic reaction to food, clothes or artificial coloring agents it should be avoided. It can also be due to current drug reaction, so any drugs taken during the time should be stopped with a doctor consultation.

For itching any topical or systemic antihistamines or mild topical corticosteroids may be applied. If there is infection antibiotics may be needed. For less severe cases wearing support stocking or surgery might help. For some severe cases Pentoxifylline have been tried with some success, but may not always work. Pentoxifylline improves the blood circulation and its safe to take ( less frequently one may experience stomach upset). Vitamin C 500mg twice daily, psoralen therapy, griseofulvin and few other options have been tried with mixed results.


  1. Catherine Laubach
    August 21, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    Does Pradaxa, Lotrel or Diovan cause Schamberg’s Disease. I’ve been on Pradaxa/Diovan for one year. It appears that the Schamberg condition that I have has greatly worsened since starting these medicaitons. Please help!!!!


  2. M D Khapekar
    April 13, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    I am M D Khapekar native of Nagpur(India). I am also suffering from this disease since last 20 years. I had acquired this disease while in Mumbai. I taken treatments from the skin specialist for more than two year but it was of no use. Hence I stopped the treatments. The Doctor was informed the causes stating due to socks energy. However, I got transferred to Nagpur Maharashtra. There I noticed that my dark patches started fading automatically without any medicine. Then I came to the conclusion that due to dry climate in Nagpur, the disease curing where as humid climate in Mumbai is the cause for disease. So for curing the same go to the dry climate and avoid humid climate. I am not a doctor. This is my experience.

    November 9, 2017 at 7:12 am

    I had Schamberg disease earlier and it has left the scar, can some natural method be used to lighten the scar. I have tired Aloe Vera juice, was drinking it and also homeopathy but nothing has really helped. Please advice???

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