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Behcet's disease is an inflammation of the blood vessels that results in ulceration of the mouth, genitals and skin. It is an autoimmune disorder caused by antibodies attacking the blood vessels, particularly the smaller ones. It's classic sign is recurring ulcers in the mouth, but in order to make a definitive diagnosis, it must be accompanied by two of four other symptoms:
- Genital ulcers
- Skin lesions
- Eye inflammation
- Abnormally aggressive reaction to needle prick
Behcet's is incurable, so treatment is focussed on symptoms. Steroids help to reduce the inflammatory response. Interferon will treat oral and genital ulcers. Colchicine will often treat the genital ulcers and arthritis. Thalidomide can reduce the immune system response, but cannot be used in women of child bearing age due to the risk of birth defects.