Comparison of the narrow band UVB versus systemic corticosteroids in the treatment of lichen planus: A randomized clinical trial

Fariba Iraji, Gita Faghihi, Ali Asilian, Amir Hossein Siadat, Fatemeh Taghavi Larijani, Mojtaba Akbari


  • BACKGROUND: Lichen planus is recognized as an inflammatory disease of the skin with different morphologic patterns. Different treatment modalities, including topical and systemic corticosteroids, methotrexate, cyclosporine, azathioprine, topical calcineurin inhibitors, and psoralenĀ plus UVA (PUVA), have been suggested for lichen planus. Although the efficacy of narrowband UVB (NBUVB) for treatment of lichen planus has been shown, no randomized clinical trial has compared NBUVB versus systemic corticosteroids for treatment of the disease. In the current study, we evaluated the efficacy of NBUVB versus systemic corticosteroids in the treatment of the lichen planus.
  • METHODS: Forty-six patients with confirmed diagnosis of lichen planus were randomly selected. The subjects were randomized into two groups of 23 to be treated with either systemic corticosteroids or NBUVB. All of the selected cases had generalized lichen planus that involved at least 20% of the body area and their pruritus was resistant to antihistamine drugs. Patients in the systemic corticosteroids group were treated with prednisolon 0.3 mg/kg for 6 weeks. NBUVB was performed three times a week for 6 weeks. The maximum dose of NBUVB was 9 J/cm2. Data regarding demographic characteristics of the patients was also collected. All collected data was analyzed using SPSS15 and statistical tests including analysis of variance (ANOVA), chi-square, and t-test.
  • RESULTS: 46 patients (23 patients in systemic steroid group and 23 patients in NBUVB group) were evaluated. There was a significant difference between the 2 groups regarding the efficacy of the treatment. According to chi-square test, NBUVB was significantly more effective than systemic steroid in treatment of generalized lichen planus (p = 0.008). According to the results, patient satisfaction was also significantly higher in the group treated with NBUVB as compared with the systemic corticosteroids (p = 0.012).
  • CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the results of our study and other previous studies showed that NBUVB may be regarded as an effective treatment for generalized cutaneous lichen planus. This treatment may be especially utilized when there is contraindication for systemic corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive drugs.
  • KEYWORDS: Lichen Planus, Narrowband UVB, Systemic Corticosteroids.


Lichen Planus, Narrowband UVB, Systemic Corticosteroids

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