Background: Topical corticosteroids are the mainstay treatment for oral lichen planus (OLP), but some authors suggest that systemic corticosteroid therapy is the only way to control acute presentation of OLP.
Methods: Forty-nine patients with histologically proven atrophic-erosive OLP were divided into two groups matched for age and sex. The test group (26 patients) was treated systemically with prednisone (50 mg/day), and afterwards with clobetasol ointment in an adhesive medium plus antimicotics, whereas the control group (23 patients) was only treated topically with clobetasol plus antimycotics.
Results: Complete remission of signs was obtained in 68.2% of the test group and 69.6% of the control group, respectively (P = 0.94). Similar results were obtained for symptoms. Follow-up showed no significant differences between the two groups. One-third of the patients of the test group versus none in the control group experienced systemic side-effects (P = 0.003).
Conclusions: The most suitable corticosteroid therapy in the management of OLP is the topical therapy, which is easier and more cost-effective than the systemic therapy followed by topical therapy.