Lichen Planus

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What is the long-term prognosis of lichen planus?

Lichen planus usually goes away by itself in time. Some drugs can produce rashes that are similar in appearance to lichen planus. These rashes can be distinguished from lichen planus in that they go away when the offending drug is stopped.

Lichen planus, by contrast, usually persists quite a while before resolving. The average duration of the condition is four years. Even after going away, lichen planus may recur. The disease is thus paradoxical in that it tends to be self-limiting but may recur after years. It is usually not associated with any body-wide (systemic) diseases or problems.

REFERENCES:

Lehman, J.S. "Lichen Planus." International Journal of Dermatology 48.7 (2009): 682-694.

"Lichen Planus." DermNet NZ. Aug. 30, 2011. <http://dermnetnz.org/scaly/lichen-planus.html>.

Sharma, Amit, et al. "Lichen Planus: An Update and Review." Pediatric Dermatology 90 July 2012: 17-23.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/21/2015
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