WHO Model Prescribing Information: Drugs Used in Skin Diseases
(1997; 132 pages) [French] [Spanish] View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentPreface
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsParasitic infections
Open this folder and view contentsInsect and arachnid bites and stings
Open this folder and view contentsSuperficial fungal infections
Open this folder and view contentsSubcutaneous fungal infections
Open this folder and view contentsBacterial infections
Open this folder and view contentsViral infections
Open this folder and view contentsEczematous diseases
Open this folder and view contentsScaling diseases
Close this folderPapulosquamous diseases
View the documentLichen planus
View the documentPityriasis rosea
View the documentPsoriasis
View the documentCutaneous reactions to drugs
Open this folder and view contentsPigmentary disorders
Open this folder and view contentsPremalignant lesions and malignant tumours
Open this folder and view contentsPhotodermatoses
Open this folder and view contentsBullous dermatoses
View the documentAlopecia areata
View the documentUrticaria
Open this folder and view contentsConditions common in children
View the documentAcne vulgaris
View the documentPruritus
View the documentTropical ulcers
Open this folder and view contentsAntimicrobial drugs
Open this folder and view contentsAntifugal drugs
Open this folder and view contentsAntiseptic agents
Open this folder and view contentsKeratoplastic and keratolytic agents
Open this folder and view contentsScabicides and pediculicides
Open this folder and view contentsAnti-inflammatory and antipruritic drugs1
Open this folder and view contentsAntiallergics and drugs used in anaphylaxis
Open this folder and view contentsUltraviolet radiation-blocking agents (sunscreens)
Open this folder and view contentsMiscellaneous drugs
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex
View the documentSelected WHO Publications of Related Interest
View the documentBack cover
 

Lichen planus

Lichen planus is a chronic, papular, pruritic skin eruption that occurs typically in middle age and later life. In some tropical countries, where it affects up to 2% of the population, it may be more common in children and in some instances related to exposure to the sun. Sometimes it is induced by drugs, including chloroquine, streptomycin, amiphenazole, quinidine and gold salts. In most cases, however, there is no obvious cause.

The lesions appear as flat-topped, polygonal, shiny papules, that in light-skinned patients are violet-coloured and, in darker patients, greyish or dark brown. They may occur anywhere, but are commonly found on the flexor surfaces of the wrists, the lumbar region, the genitalia and the lower legs. Older lesions, particularly on the legs, are thickened and may have more scales. Healing, which may not occur for many years, often leaves the skin deeply pigmented. The mucous membranes of the oral cavity may also be involved, and when ulceration occurs, it is important to rule out the possibility of an oral malignancy.

Management

The condition is often mild and may need no treatment or only the use of low-potency topical corticosteroids. Hypertrophic lesions are best treated with topical corticosteroids under occlusive dressings, but treatment with oral corticosteroids such as prednisolone may be needed when large areas of skin or the mucous membranes are involved. Retinoids are also claimed to be useful, but the large doses required are potentially toxic, and the more potent derivatives, such as isotretinoin, tretinoin and etretinate, are proven teratogens.

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