Steriods in the treatment of lichen planus: a review

J Oral Sci. 2008 Dec;50(4):377-85. doi: 10.2334/josnusd.50.377.


Steroids have been found to be effective in treating symptomatic oral lichen planus (OLP) by reducing pain and inflammation. In fact, systemic corticosteroids should be reserved for acute exacerbation, and multiple or widespread lesions. They may be indicated in patients whose condition is unresponsive to topical steroids. However, various potent topical steroids have been reported to be effective in the treatment of symptomatic OLP. They can be used as the first line drugs in the treatment of OLP with no serious side-effects. During the therapy, candidiasis was commonly found and in addition, bad taste, nausea, dry mouth, sore throat and swollen mouth may occur as minor side-effects from some topical steroids. Because OLP is a chronic disorder that requires long-term treatment, topical steroids are recommended for the treatment OLP because of minimal side-effects and the cost benefit. This manuscript reviews the use of steroids, especially its topical application, in the treatment of OLP.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Glucocorticoids / administration & dosage
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Lichen Planus, Oral / drug therapy*
  • Opportunistic Infections / microbiology


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Glucocorticoids