Skin Specialists Online

The Online Skin Clinic



Pellagra is a nutritional disease which is caused by deficiency of vitamin B3 or Niacin.



The classic symptoms of pellagra are Diarrhea, Dermatitis, Dementia, and Death.


Pellagra dermatitis (pellagroderma) begins with the development of red skin with blisters that burst to reveal raw areas. These red areas become brownish in color and begin scaling on the areas exposed to sunlight.

As the disease progresses, the skin becomes dry, rough, hard and cracks.

vitamin B 3 niacin deficiency


The treatment for Pellagra includes:

1. Nicotinamide which can be given orally at doses of 50-100 mg three times a day. Improvement can be seen within 2 days of starting treatment in patients with primary pellagra.

Nicotinamide, which can also be given intramuscularly or as an injection in the muscle, is the preferred form for treatment for pellagra since it does not cause flushing, itching, and burning sensations like niacin.


2. Niacin rich proteins like anchovies, tuna, liver, chicken and veal should be added to the diet since they are vital for total recovery


3. Treatment of the underlying cause should be instituted in secondary pellagra.


4. Sun protection with broad spectrum sunscreens and physical clothing is also beneficial.

niacin dermatitis

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