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Clinical features and management of oral lichen planus (OLP) with emphasis on the management of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related OLP

Alexandru Mester, Ondine Lucaciu, Lidia Ciobanu, Dragos Apostu, Aranka Ilea, Radu Septimiu Campian


Oral lichen planus (OLP) is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by the occurrence of multiple, symmetrical lesions in the oral cavity. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been suggested as an etiological factor in OLP. The purpose of this review was to summarize the current literature regarding the treatment of OLP in patients with HCV infection. An electronic search of the PubMed database was conducted until January 2018, using the following keywords: OLP, HCV, corticosteroids, retinoids, immunomodulatory agents, surgical interventions, photochemotherapy, laser therapy, interferon, ribavirin, and direct-acting antivirals. We selected the articles focusing on the clinical features and treatment management of OLP in patients with/without HCV infection. Topical corticosteroids are considered the first-line treatment in OLP. Calcineurin inhibitors or retinoids can be beneficial for recalcitrant OLP lesions. Systemic therapy should be used in the case of extensive and refractory lesions that involve extraoral sites. Surgical intervention is recommended for isolated lesions. In patients with HCV, monotherapy with interferon (IFN)-α may either improve, aggravate or trigger OLP lesions, while combined IFN-α and ribavirin therapy does not significantly influence the progression of lesions. Direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy appears to be a promising approach in patients with HCV-related OLP, as it can improve symptoms of both liver disease and OLP, with fewer side effects. Nevertheless, for clinical utility of DAAs in OLP patients, further studies with larger sample sizes, adequate treatment duration, and long term follow-up are required.


Oral lichen planus; OLP; hepatitis C virus infection; HCV; management of oral pathology; direct acting antivirals; DAA

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