Efficacy of topical tacrolimus for oral lichen planus: real-life experience in a retrospective cohort of patients with a review of the literature

Ribero, S; Stieger, Marco; Quaglino, P; Hongang, T; Bornstein, Michael; Naldi, L; Borradori, Luca (2015). Efficacy of topical tacrolimus for oral lichen planus: real-life experience in a retrospective cohort of patients with a review of the literature. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 29(6), pp. 1107-1113. Blackwell 10.1111/jdv.12758

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE Management of oral lichen planus (OLP) is challenging and therapeutic options are limited. The use of topical tacrolimus has shown promising results. We reviewed our daily life experience with topical tacrolimus in OLP patients. METHODS This retrospective unicentre study included all 21 patients with OLP, which were evaluated over a 53-month period and treated with topical tacrolimus. Patients were initially given a topical preparation of 0.1% tacrolimus twice daily. The response to treatment was assessed using a 4-point scale at month 2 and 6: complete response of affected area (CR), major remission (>50%, MR), partial remission (25-50%, PR) and either no response (<25%) or worsening. The pain score was also assessed using a 3-point scale. RESULTS Four of 21 patients (19%) showed a CR at month 2, whereas at month 6, 7 (33%) had a CR. For patients who reported MR (n = 2) and PR (n = 8) at month 2, the therapy was continued. Of those, at 6 months, three patients showed a CR, while four maintained a PR. The pain score improved during treatment. After 2 months of therapy, eight of 10 patients with an initial high pain score achieved a significant improvement. In patients starting with moderate pain an improvement was observed in one of seven patients. Overall, for three patients there was a complete loss of pain, while in nine there was a reduction. Except for transitory burning sensation and altered taste sensation, no relevant side-effects were reported. CONCLUSION This retrospective analysis confirms that topical tacrolimus is a valuable therapeutic option in severe or treatment-resistant OLP. Our findings in daily practice suggested nevertheless that the efficacy of topical tacrolimus is overestimated with regard to both complete response and pain reduction.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > School of Dental Medicine > Department of Oral Surgery and Stomatology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Dermatology, Urology, Rheumatology, Nephrology, Osteoporosis (DURN) > Clinic of Dermatology

UniBE Contributor:

Stieger, Marco; Bornstein, Michael and Borradori, Luca


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Sandra Nyffenegger

Date Deposited:

23 Feb 2016 16:09

Last Modified:

11 Sep 2017 20:43

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