Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is an autoimmune disease of the skin and mouth (mucous membrane). Auto-antibodies attack molecules that essentially hold the skin cells together, causing them to separate and resulting in blisters. Pemphigus vulgaris is characterized by multiple lesions or blisters that do not heal, or that recur and spread to larger portions of the body and about 80% of the cases first exhibit symptoms in the mouth, and the mouth may be the only site of lesions.
Typically, those with pemphigus vulgaris will have multiple ulcers that persist for weeks to months. Blistering may be accompanied by severe pain, itching, burning, and stinging and if extensive, blistering can lead to life-threatening fluid loss, infection, and disfigurement. Fatalities from pemphigus vulgaris are extremely unlikely in the United States; however, timeliness of treatment is critical.