Indian Dermatology Online Journal

: 2014  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 107--108

Classical Sweet's syndrome

Saurabh R Jindal, Mahendra M Kura 
 Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy, Grant Medical College, Mumbai, India

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Jindal
Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy, Grant Medical College and Sir JJ Hospital, Byculla, Mumbai 400 008


A 38-year - old female came to us with sudden eruptions of painful edematous lesions which appeared pseudovesicular on cutaneous examination. Histopathology supported the diagnosis of sweet«SQ»s syndrome and she responded to a combination of dapsone and oral steroids, after having relapsed on self-discontinuation of monotherapy with dapsone.

How to cite this article:
Jindal SR, Kura MM. Classical Sweet's syndrome.Indian Dermatol Online J 2014;5:107-108

How to cite this URL:
Jindal SR, Kura MM. Classical Sweet's syndrome. Indian Dermatol Online J [serial online] 2014 [cited 2020 Sep 26 ];5:107-108
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 Case Report

A 38-year-old female presented with red raised, painful lesions on right forearm with fever since 10 days, which gradually coalesced to form larger lesions [Figure 1]. Patient had similar episodes 3 years back which had subsided on taking some medications. There was a prior history of upper respiratory tract infection. On examination, patient was febrile. A large erythematous plaque of size 8 × 6 cm was present on right upper extremity. Small erythematous plaques were also present on both upper limbs, right side of neck, and chest. Few lesions showed typical "relief of mountain range appearance". Local temperature was raised in all the lesions. Superficial nerves were not thickened and sensations on the plaques were normal. All other investigations were within normal limits apart from elevated ESR. Histopathology showed a diffuse infiltrate consisting predominantly of mature neutrophils located in the upper dermis without evidence of primary leukocytoclastic vasculitis [Figure 2]. Our patient was initially treated with tablet dapsone 100 mg HS with dramatic early improvement and relapse on discontinuation. The second episode was treated with a combination of dapsone and oral prednisolone started at 30 mg/day and gradually tapered over 4 weeks. The patient is now in remission [Figure 3].{Figure 1}{Figure 2}{Figure 3}


This condition, originally described by Dr. Robert Douglas Sweet in 1964, [1] is an acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis, characterized by fever, neutrophilia, erythematous and tender skin lesions that typically show an upper dermal infiltrate of mature neutrophils, with prompt improvement after the initiation of treatment. Classical or idiopathic Sweet's syndrome may be associated with infection (upper respiratory tract or gastrointestinal tract), inflammatory bowel disease, or pregnancy. [2] The lesions have a transparent, vesicle-like appearance secondary to the pronounced edema in the upper dermis (pseudovesicular appearance). Recurrent episodes of Sweet's syndrome occur in one-third to two-thirds of patients. [3] Sweet's syndrome can also present as a paraneoplastic syndrome (most commonly related to acute myelogenous leukemia) or as a medication-related disorder (most commonly after treatment with granulocyte-colony stimulating factor therapy). Cytokines may directly or indirectly have an etiologic role in the development of the dermatosis [Table 1].{Table 1}

Diagnostic criteria

Improvement in patients with malignancy-associated Sweet's syndrome or drug-induced Sweet's syndrome may occur following successful treatment of the cancer or discontinuation of a causative medication. The therapeutic mainstay for Sweet's syndrome is systemic corticosteroids. [4] Dapsone has been used as either monotherapy or in combination therapy. [5] Other agents used are potassium iodide, colchicine, Indomethacin, clofazimine, cyclosporine, and antibiotics.


1Sweet RD. An acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis. Br J Dermatol 1964;76:349-56.
2Cohen PR, Kurzrock R. Sweet's syndrome and cancer. Clin Dermatol 1993;11:149-57.
3Honigsmann H, Cohen PR, Wolff K. Acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis (Sweet's syndrome). In: Freedberg IM, Eisen AZ, Wolff K, Austen KF, Goldsmith LA, Katz SI, Fitzpatrick TB, editors. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 5 th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Health Professions Division; 1999. p. 1117-23.
4Kemmett D, Hunter JA. Sweet's syndrome: A clinicopathologic review of twenty-nine cases. J Am Acad Dermatol 1990;23:503-7.
5Aram H. Acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis (Sweet's syndrome): Response to dapsone. Arch Dermatol 1984;120:245-7.