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Lichen Planus Treatment

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Lichen planus is an inflammatory skin condition, characterized by small, many-sided, flat-topped, pink or purple itchy bumps, non-infectious rash on the arms and legs.

  • Lichen planus is a non-infectious, inflammatory skin disorder.
  • People with hepatitis C are more susceptible to lichen planus.
  • Treatment for lichen planus may include antihistamines, phototherapy, or steroid creams.

Diagnosis

Your skin specialist makes a diagnosis of lichen planus based on the symptoms you show, your medical history, a physical examination and the results of lab tests. These tests may include:

Biopsy

The doctor removes a small piece of affected tissue for examination under a microscope. The tissue is analyzed to determine whether it has the cell patterns characteristic of lichen planus.

Hepatitis C test

The doctor may have your blood drawn to test for hepatitis C, which is a possible trigger for lichen planus.

Allergy tests

Dermatologist to find out if you're allergic to something that can trigger lichen planus.

Treatment

Lichen planus on the skin often clears up on its own in months to years. If the disease affects your mucous membranes, it tends to be more resistant to treatment and prone to recur. Whatever treatment you use, you'll need to visit your doctor for follow-up appointments about once a year.

Corticosteroids

If your condition is severe then doctor might suggest a corticosteroid pill or injection. Corticosteroids are considered safe when taken as directed and for short-term use.

Antihistamines

The oral antihistamine medication might relieve the itching of lichen planus.

Light therapy

The most common phototherapy for lichen planus uses ultraviolet B (UVB) light, which penetrates only the upper layer of skin (epidermis). Light therapy usually requires two to three treatments a week for several weeks.

Retinoids

If corticosteroids or light therapy doesn't prove useful to your condition, your doctor might prescribe an oral retinoid medication, such as acitretin (Soriatane). Retinoids can cause birth defects, so these drugs aren't recommended for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant.