Slideshows Images Quizzes

Copyright © 2018 by RxList Inc. RxList does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information.

Definition of Lichen planus

  • Medical Author:
    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.

Lichen planus: A common skin disease with small itchy pink or purple spots on the arms or legs.

The lesions (abnormal areas) on the skin in lichen planus are typically polygonal, flat (hence, the term planus), and pruritic (itchy). Occurs characteristically on the wrists, shins, lower back and genitalia. Involvement of the scalp may lead to hair loss.

The cause(s) of lichen planus are unknown. However, it can be triggered by the use of certain drugs (thiazide diuretics, phenothiazines, antimalarials).

Treatment is with topical corticosteroids. In most cases, the disease spontaneously regresses 6 months to 2 years after onset.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors