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Dermatology Online Journal

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Successful treatment of exanthematous lichen planus in a young adult with low dose oral corticosteroid and isotretinoin.


Lichen planus is an inflammatory disease affecting the skin and mucosal membranes often with a chronic course lasting months to years with episodes of relapses. Classically it presents as flat topped, purple, polygonal, pruritic papules on the volar aspect of wrists and forearms, ankles, lower legs, and lumbo-sacral spine. We report a young woman with an exanthematous/eruptive variant of lichen planus who had a sudden outbreak of multiple papules and plaques all over the body with relative sparing of head and neck region. Eruptive lichen planus is rarely reported in adults and effective treatments are not well documented. We prescribed a short course of oral corticosteroid to which the patient did not respond. This was followed by oral isotretinoin and there was dramatic improvement in her symptoms and cutaneous lesions. A short course of oral corticosteroid followed with oral isotretinoin may be considered as a valuable management plan for exanthematous lichen planus. This combination may avoid serious adverse effects of both drugs when prescribed in high doses.

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