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World J Clin Cases. 2014 Jul 16;2(7):253-6. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v2.i7.253.

Critical review of topical management of oral hairy leukoplakia.

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Cláudia B Brasileiro, Ricardo A Mesquita, Department of Oral Surgery and Pathology, School of Dentistry, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Pampulha, 31270-901, Belo Horizonte/MG, Brazil.


Oral hairy leukoplakia (OHL) is a disease associated with Epstein-Barr virus and human immunodeficiency virus infections. OHL is usually an asymptomatic lesion, but in some cases treatment is recommended to reestablish the normal characteristics of the tongue, to eliminate pathogenic microorganisms, to improve patient comfort and for cosmetic reasons. Proposed treatments for this condition include surgery, systemic antiviral treatment and topical management. Topical treatment is an inexpensive and safe therapy that is easy to apply, noninvasive, free of systemic adverse effects and effective over a long period of time. The aim of this study was to present a review of the literature for topical therapy for OHL. Gentian violet, retinoids, podophyllin, acyclovir and podophyllin associated with topical antiviral drugs were used to treat OHL. Reports with this focus are limited, and since 2010, no new studies have been published that discuss the efficacy of topical treatments for OHL. Podophyllin with acyclovir cream was found to be effective, causing regression of lesions with no recurrences. Additional searches are necessary to provide clinical evidence of topical management effectiveness.


Human immunodeficiency virus infection; Oral hairy leukoplakia; Recurrence rate; Topical agents; Topical treatment

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