Eosinophilic fasciitis is clinically distinguishable from the eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome and is not associated with L-tryptophan use

J. Varga, R. Griffin, J. H. Newman, S. A. Jimenez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Induration of the skin develops in a majority of patients with the eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome associated with L-tryptophan, and bears striking clinical and histopathological resemblance to eosinophilic fasciitis (EF). These similarities have led to the suggestion that eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome and EF are the same disease. To study the relationship of eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome and EF, we ascertained the prevalence of L-tryptophan use in a cohort of patients with EF, and compared their clinical and laboratory findings to those of patients with eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome associated cutaneous involvement. None of 11 patients who were diagnosed as having EF between 1970 and 1989 used L-tryptophan containing preparations prior to the onset of their illness. Marked clinical and laboratory test differences were observed between patients with EF and eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. Patients with eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome had a more acute onset, more severe symptoms, higher frequency of rash and of pulmonary, cardiac, gastrointestinal, neurologic, myopathic and thyroid involvement compared to patients with EF. Corticosteroid therapy resulted in improvement of cutaneous involvement in 88% of patients with EF but it was only partially successful in patients with eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. Hospitalization and fatalities occurred only among patients with eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. These observations demonstrate that eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome is a more severe disease with multisystemic involvement that can be clinically distinguished from EF. In contrast to eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome, EF is not associated with L-tryptophan ingestion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-263
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1991


  • Cutaneous fibrosis
  • Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome
  • Eosinophilic fasciitis
  • L-tryptophan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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