Low-Dose Excimer 308-nm Laser for the Treatment of Oral Lichen Planus | Dermatology | JAMA Dermatology | JAMA Network
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April 2004

Low-Dose Excimer 308-nm Laser for the Treatment of Oral Lichen Planus

Author Affiliations

From the Gange Photomedicine Research Center, Wellman Laboratories of Photomedicine, Department of Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston. The authors have no relevant financial interest in this article.

Arch Dermatol. 2004;140(4):415-420. doi:10.1001/archderm.140.4.415

Background  Lichen planus is a difficult-to-treat chronic inflammatory disorder that affects mucous membranes, causing inanition, halitosis, and dyspareunia.

Objective  To evaluate the novel use of low-dose 308-nm excimer laser radiation for the treatment of symptomatic oral lichen planus (OLP).

Design  A single-center, before-after trial.

Setting  Academic clinical research center.

Patients  Nine patients with symptomatic, biopsy-proven OLP, unresponsive to conventional therapies, were recruited from the dermatology clinics of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Eight participants completed the entire study, and 1, despite early improvement, did not complete the study because of hospitalization for an unrelated reason.

Intervention  With a narrow, fiberoptic handpiece to target precisely only diseased sites, 308-nm excimer laser radiation was delivered at an initial dose of 100 mJ/cm2 once a week.

Main Outcome Measure  A visual analog scale was used to grade subjective disease severity. Clinical improvement was graded in quartiles as follows: poor (<25%), fair (25%-50%), good (51%-75%), and excellent (>75%). Follow-up visits occurred for up to 18 months. A paired t test was performed to evaluate efficacy of treatment.

Results  Treatments were painless and well tolerated. Five patients demonstrated overall excellent clinical and subjective improvement after 7 treatments. Two participants with nonerosive OLP were deemed fair responders. The only poor responder in the study also had chronic active hepatitis C infection. Overall improvement was statistically significant (P<.05), and for the responders, remission times ranged from 2 to 17 months.

Conclusion  Low-dose treatment with the excimer 308-nm laser can be very effective in treating symptomatic and especially erosive OLP, an otherwise notoriously difficult-to-control disease.