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Year : 1992  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 53-54

Phenytoin induced pseudolymphoma syndrome

Correspondence Address:
C Balachandran

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How to cite this article:
Balachandran C. Phenytoin induced pseudolymphoma syndrome. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 1992;58:53-4

How to cite this URL:
Balachandran C. Phenytoin induced pseudolymphoma syndrome. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol [serial online] 1992 [cited 2021 Jan 20];58:53-4. Available from:

To The Editor,

I read with interest the article, 'Phenytoin induced pseudolymphoma syndrome' (Ind J Dermatol Venereol 1991;

57: 183-7). Though I agree with the authors that pseudolymphoma syndrome should be considered in patients on drugs who present with generalised rash, lymphadenopathy and hepatospleno­megaly, I believe the case described could be that of true lymphoma induced by phenytoin. Majority of cases of pseudolymphoma syndrome manifest after 2 to 8 weeks of diphenyl hydantoin therapy whereas the development of true lymphoma requires many years of drug therapy. [1] Usually drug-induced pseudolymphorna involutes after cessation of the drug though subsequently in rare cases a true lymphoma can occur [2],[3] The fact that the patient died within 48 hours supports the diagnosis of true lymphoma. It is possible that this patient could have been in a state of pseudolymphoma without skin lesions for long. The diagnosis should have been based on peripheral smear examination, bone marrow study and lymph node biopsy. Most of the patients with this syndrome have also been reported to be having hyperglobulinaemia.

Cutaneous pseudolymphoma mimics cutaneous lymphoma histologically. The ultimate criterion is the clinical course of the disease though a dense mixed cell infiltrate in the upper dermis with prominent vasculature is more in favour of a pseudolymphoma [4],[5] We had recently seen 27-year-old male who presented with fever, generalised erythematous macular lesions, lymphadenopathy and periorbital swelling, 14 days after starting phenytoin therapy. His skin and lymph node biopsy were resembling lymphoma. Haematological investigations were within normal limits. Withdrawal of phenytoin and oral prednisolone 60 mg daily cleared the lesions within 2 weeks. Apart from dilantin, mephenytoin thimethadion, dihydralizine, captopril and isoniazid can also , cause pseudolymphoma syndrome. A thorough clinical, haematological evaluation and prolonged follow up is required in all cases of pseudolymphoma syndrome.

  References Top

1.Kardaun S H, Scheffer E, Vermeer B J. Drug­induced pseudolymphomatous skin reactions. Br J Dermatol 1988; 118 : 545 - 52.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Charlesworth EN. Phenytoin induced pseudolymphoma syndrome. Arch Dermatol 1977, 113: 477 - 80.  Back to cited text no. 2  [PUBMED]  
3.Braverman IM. Lymphomas and allied disorders. In Skin signs of systemic disease (Braverman IM ed), 2nd edn. Philadelphia WB Saunders Company, 1981; 109-78.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Connors RC, Ackerman AB. Histologic pseudomalignancies of the skin. Arch dermatol 1976; 112: 1767-80.  Back to cited text no. 4  [PUBMED]  
5.Ackerman AB., Pseudolymphomas, In Histologic diagnosis of inflammatory skin diseases (Ackerman AB ed), Philadephia : Lea & Febiger, 1978; 442-7.  Back to cited text no. 5    


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