When to Refer
Even though some rheumatologists are comfortable with the use of topical steroids, dermatologists say there should be no hesitation to give a referral. It’s possible that what appears to be a simple rash could be something else entirely.
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Explore This IssueMarch 2015
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It’s also possible that a skin issue may require treatment with something other than a topical steroid. If a condition is not improving after a reasonable treatment period with a topical steroid, that should be cause for a referral.
Another good touch point for referral is if the treatment you recommended has not helped over a two-week period.
“If you have any questions about the diagnosis, it’s best to have a dermatologist on board,” Dr. Lee says.
Find a dermatologist with whom you can work regularly and who will respond readily to questions you may have, she recommends.
In turn, dermatologists will often ask about signs and symptoms of rheumatologic disease, including joint pain, in patients with certain kinds of skin conditions and will refer them to rheumatologists if an inflammatory condition is suspected but undiagnosed, Dr. Ross says. “I always ask about joint pain for that reason,” Dr. Ross says. the rheumatologist
Vanessa Caceres is a medical writer in Bradenton, Fla.