Rare Ophthalmology News

Disease Profile

Oral lichen planus

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Oral lichenoid lesions


Oral lichen planus is a inflammatory condition that affects the inside of the mouth. Signs and symptoms include patches of fine white lines and dots most commonly in the inside of the cheeks, gums, and/or tongue. Most people with lichen planus experience no to few symptoms, others may have painful sores or ulcers in the mouth. Severe lichen planus slightly increases the risk for oral cancer. Oral lichen planus may occur alone or in combination with other skin forms of lichen planus.[1][2][3]


It is important to identify and remove any potential agent that might have caused a lichenoid reaction.[4] Chemicals or medications associated with development of lichen planus include gold, antibiotics, arsenic, iodides, chloroquine, quinacrine, quinidine, antimony, phenothiazines, diuretics such as chlorothiazide, and many others.[1] Consideration regarding role of drugs that were started in recent months prior to the on set of oral lichen planus, as well as any contact allergens identified by patch testing is recommended.[4]

Symptoms may improve with the following measures:[4]

Meticulous oral hygiene
Stopping smoking
Topical steroids as drops, pastes, gels or sprays (e.g., triamcinolone paste)
Steroid injections (intralesional triamcinolone)
Mouth rinse containing the calcineurin inhibitors: cyclosporin or tacrolimus

In severe cases systemic corticosteroids may be used.[4]

Other possible therapeutic agents may include:[4]

Systemic retinoids (acitretin or isotretinoin)
Low molecular weight heparin

Learn more

These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

Where to Start

  • DermNet NZ is an online resource about skin diseases developed by the New Zealand Dermatological Society Incorporated. DermNet NZ provides information about this condition.
  • The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD) has developed an information page on this condition. Click on the link to read more.

In-Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • MeSH® (Medical Subject Headings) is a terminology tool used by the National Library of Medicine. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
  • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Oral lichen planus. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.



  1. Berman K. Lichen Planus. Ocotber 2010; https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000867.htm. Accessed 7/20/2011.
  2. Habif TP, ed.. Clinical Dermatology, 5th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2010;
  3. Lichen Planus. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. 2012; https://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/lichen_planus.html.
  4. Oral Lichen Planus. New Zealand Dermatologic Soceity, inc.. Ocotber 2010; https://www.dermnet.org.nz/scaly/oral-lichen-planus.html. Accessed 7/20/2011.

Rare Ophthalmology News