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Lichen Planus

Lichen planus (LP) is a disease of the skin and/or mucous membranes.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: Wikipedia)

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Interventions for treating oral lichen planus

Oral lichen planus (OLP) is a condition where there are long‐term, painful areas on the lining of the mouth. The treatment is for reducing pain but there is no cure for this disease. Usual treatment is steroid ointment applied directly to the painful areas. This review found no research evidence to show that one type of steroid is better or worse than another. There is no evidence that a group of treatments called calcineurin inhibitors (e.g. pimecrolimus) are more effective than placebo. This review found that aloe vera may reduce pain and clinical signs of OLP.

Treatments for erosive lichen planus affecting mucosal sites

Erosive lichen planus (ELP) is a condition that affects the mouth, oesophagus (food pipe or gullet), and anogenital region. It is caused by an over‐active immune system. It is often more painful and debilitating than the non‐erosive types of lichen planus. Depending on the site involved, affected individuals may experience pain, and difficulty eating; passing urine; or having sexual intercourse. Treatment is difficult and aimed at controlling symptoms, rather than cure. Several creams and tablets have been used with varying results.

Therapy of oral lichen planus: a systematic review

Bibliographic details: Sun YL, Zhao J, Wu TX, Li Y.  Therapy of oral lichen planus: a systematic review. Chinese Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine 2009; 9(3): 323-330

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Summaries for consumers

Interventions for treating oral lichen planus

Oral lichen planus (OLP) is a condition where there are long‐term, painful areas on the lining of the mouth. The treatment is for reducing pain but there is no cure for this disease. Usual treatment is steroid ointment applied directly to the painful areas. This review found no research evidence to show that one type of steroid is better or worse than another. There is no evidence that a group of treatments called calcineurin inhibitors (e.g. pimecrolimus) are more effective than placebo. This review found that aloe vera may reduce pain and clinical signs of OLP.

Treatments for erosive lichen planus affecting mucosal sites

Erosive lichen planus (ELP) is a condition that affects the mouth, oesophagus (food pipe or gullet), and anogenital region. It is caused by an over‐active immune system. It is often more painful and debilitating than the non‐erosive types of lichen planus. Depending on the site involved, affected individuals may experience pain, and difficulty eating; passing urine; or having sexual intercourse. Treatment is difficult and aimed at controlling symptoms, rather than cure. Several creams and tablets have been used with varying results.

Terms to know

Autoimmune Disease
Disease that results when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own tissues. Examples include multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus.
Buccal Mucosa (Mouth Mucosa)
The inner lining of the cheeks.
Mucosa (Mucous Membranes)
The moist, inner lining of some organs and body cavities (such as the nose, mouth, lungs, and stomach). Glands in the mucosa make mucus (a thick, slippery fluid). Also called mucous membrane.
Papules
A small, solid, raised bump on the skin that has a border with edges that are easy to see. Papules may be red, purple, brown, or pink.
Plaque
In medicine, a small, abnormal patch of tissue on a body part or an organ. Plaques may also be a build-up of substances from a fluid, such as cholesterol in the blood vessels.
Skin
The outer covering of the body that protects it from the environment.

More about Lichen Planus

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See Also: Oral Lichen Planus, Erosive Lichen Planus, Atrophic Lichen Planus, Lichen Planus Pigmentosus

Other terms to know: See all 6
Autoimmune Disease, Buccal Mucosa (Mouth Mucosa), Mucosa (Mucous Membranes)

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