Lichen planus is a disease in which there is an itchy rash on the skin or in the mouth.
The exact cause of lichen planus is unknown. However, it is likely to be related to an allergic or immune reaction.
Lichen planus generally affects middle-aged adults. It is less common in children.
Other symptoms include:
The health care provider may make the diagnosis based on the appearance of the skin or mouth lesions.
A skin lesion biopsy or biopsy of a mouth lesion can confirm the diagnosis. Blood tests may be done to rule out hepatitis.
The goal of treatment is to reduce your symptoms and speed healing of the skin lesions. If symptoms are mild, you may not need treatment.
Treatments may include:
Lichen planus is usually not harmful and may get better with treatment. It usually clears up within 18 months.
However it may last for weeks to months, and may come and go for years. It usually clears up within 18 months.
If lichen planus is caused by a medication, the rash should go away once the medicine is stopped.
Call your health care provider if:
Habif, Thomas P. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2009:pp 320-326.
Mirowski GW, Mark LA. Oral disease and oral-cutaneous manifestations of gastrointestinal and liver disease. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elseiver;2010:chap 22.
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