Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Lichen Planus Overview

What is lichen planus?
A person with lichen planus has inflammation of the skin and the inside surface of the mouth. The appearance of lichen planus is highly variable. About 1 out of 200 people in the US develop lichen planus each year. The cause of lichen planus is unknown, but it may be due to an allergy.

What are the symptoms of lichen planus?
Symptoms of lichen planus include raised patches of shiny, white skin. The patches may occur in clusters, commonly located on the arms, legs, buttocks, and scalp. The rash may be itchy. Additional symptoms may include hair loss and white spots in the mouth. A rare form of lichen planus that form blisters is called bullous lichen planus.

How does the doctor treat lichen planus?
Treatment for lichen planus includes oral antihistamines, and corticosteroid creams or ointments. Additional treatment may include oral retinoid medications. With treatment, most cases resolve in 18 months.

Continue to Lichen Planus Incidence

Last Updated: May 18, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Lichen Planus References
  1. Bauza A, Espana A, Gil P, Lloret P, Vazquez Doval FJ. Successful treatment of lichen planus with sulfasalazine in 20 patients. Int J Dermatol. 2005 Feb;44(2):158-62. [15689219]
  2. Dissemond J. Oral lichen planus: an overview. J Dermatolog Treat. 2004 Jun;15(3):136-40. [15204144]
  3. Maender JL, Krishnan RS, Angel TA, Hsu S. Complete resolution of generalized lichen planus after treatment with thalidomide. J Drugs Dermatol. 2005 Jan-Feb;4(1):86-8. [15696990]
  4. Sakakibara K, Nakada T, Sueki H, Lijima M, Irisawa K. Annular lichen planus. J Cutan Med Surg. 2004 May-Jun;8(3):173-5. [15578131]
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