Gardner-Diamond syndrome: a systematic review of treatment options for a rare psychodermatological disorder

Megan E. Block, Jenna L. Sitenga, Michael Lehrer, Peter T. Silberstein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Gardner-Diamond syndrome (GDS) is a rare psychodermatological condition characterized by the formation of spontaneous, painful skin lesions that develop into ecchymosis following episodes of severe physiological or psychological stress. The majority of GDS cases occur in young adult females, and although the etiology of this rare disorder is unknown, there appears to be a psychological component correlated with the coexistence of previous psychiatric diagnoses. Due to the rare nature of this disorder, there exist few guidelines for prompt clinical diagnosis and optimal treatment. Here, a systematic review was conducted to include 45 cases of patients with GDS to better understand clinical presentation as well as current treatment options. Ultimately, GDS is a diagnosis of exclusion after other coagulopathies and causes of purpura are ruled out. High clinical suspicion following laboratory and clinical exclusion of known physiological causes is necessary for diagnosis. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and corticosteroids are cost effective first line treatments for GDS with proven efficacy in symptomatic relief. GDS refractory to initial treatment may require regular psychotherapy and titrated SSRI dosages to achieve long-term success. This review of available case studies serves to comprehensively describe the clinical presentation and available treatment approaches to this rare psychodermatological disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)782-787
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Dermatology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dermatology


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