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Arch Dermatol. 2002 Oct;138(10):1335-8.

Treatment of chronic erosive oral lichen planus with low concentrations of topical tacrolimus: an open prospective study.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Hôpital Archet-2, BP 3079, 06202 Nice CEDEX, France.



Chronic erosive oral lichen planus (EOLP) is a severe form of lichen of the buccal mucosa that is often resistant to systemic or topical therapies.


To evaluate the efficacy and safety of topical tacrolimus, 0.1 mg per 100 mL of water, in treating EOLP.


Open-label, prospective, noncomparative study, with 6 months of treatment and 6 months of follow-up.


Dermatology department at a university hospital in Nice, France.


Ten patients with histologically proved EOLP that was refractory to treatment. Two patients were withdrawn because of noncompliance; findings in 8 were available for evaluation.


Mouthwashes with tacrolimus, 0.1 mg per 100 mL of distilled water, 4 times daily for 6 months.


Efficacy was assessed using a calculated score that combined the intensity of spontaneous and meal-triggered pain and the surface area of erosions. Safety assessment included the monitoring of adverse effects, clinical laboratory values, and blood concentrations of tacrolimus.


Among the 8 patients evaluated, 1 had no improvement and 7 were improved. The mean score decreased from 7.00 at baseline to 5.43 (a 22.43% decrease) at 1 month, 4.14 (a 40.86% decrease) at 2 months, 3.00 (a 57.14% decrease) at 3 months, 2.43 (a 65.29% decrease) at 4 months, 2.57 (a 63.29% decrease) at 5 months, and 3.43 (a 51.00% decrease) at 6 months. A decrease of symptoms was reported by the 7 responding patients as soon as the first month of treatment. No severe adverse effects were observed. All patients had whole-blood concentrations of tacrolimus below the detection limit of the assay (1.5 ng/mL) at all intervals. At 9 months, 6 patients had had a relapse within a mean of 38.6 days. At 12 months, all patients had had a relapse and required treatment with topical corticosteroids or systemic hydroxychloroquine sulfate.


Results of our study suggest a rapid and important palliating effect of low concentration of topical tacrolimus in distilled water in patients with EOLP.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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