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December 1992

Treatment of Oral Hairy Leukoplakia With Podophyllin

Arch Dermatol. 1992;128(12):1659. doi:10.1001/archderm.1992.04530010095028

To the Editor.  —Hairy leukoplakia consists of white corrugated oral plaques (Fig 1) almost exclusively associated with advanced human immunodeficiency virus infection and rarely with other causes of immunosuppression.1 The Epstein-Barr virus has been strongly implicated as the cause of the lesions that are usually asymptomatic and appear to be benign.2 Patients may seek treatment because of discomfort or unsightly appearance.Treatment with acyclovir, desciclovir, ganciclovir, zidovudine, and topical tretinoin have been reported to help regression of the leukoplakia but, even when effective, the lesions usually recur following discontinuation of therapy.3 In addition, these treatments may be expensive or have dangerous systemic effects, and surgical excision produces considerable morbidity. We report our experience with topical podophyllin, which was recently reported to improve hairy leukoplakia4 and which has long been used to treat other oral diseases such as black hairy tongue.

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