Oral Drug Reduces Lichen Planopilaris Symptoms

Mycophenolate mofetil benefits majority of small sample of patients who failed other treatments

WEDNESDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- Ten of 12 patients with lichen planopilaris (LPP) of the scalp who failed to respond to other therapies had significantly reduced symptoms when treated with the antimetabolite mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), but four other patients had to discontinue treatment because of adverse events, according to a review in the March issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Bryan K. Cho, M.D., of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Mountain View, Calif., and colleagues assessed a treatment regimen of twice-daily oral MMF for at least six months in adults who had previously been unsuccessfully treated with multiple agents. The researchers quantified disease severity with the LPP Activity Index (LPPAI) and compared scores before and after treatment.

The researchers found that five of 12 patients had more than an 85 percent decrease in LPPAI score, five of 12 had a 25 to 85 percent decrease in LPPAI score, and two of 12 patients had a less than 25 percent decrease in LPAAI score and were deemed treatment failures. Four patients stopped MMF treatment because of adverse events, including herpes zoster, gastrointestinal disturbance, and hand and foot swelling.

"Results from a small, retrospective study such as this must be interpreted with caution. However, several reports have found MMF helpful for other forms of lichen planus, suggesting that MMF may find applicability to all lichen planus-related conditions. It is also noteworthy that greater than 83 percent of treated patients benefited from treatment (either complete or partial responders) despite having failed at least one, or in many cases, multiple systemic treatments previously," the authors write.

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