Triggers of oral lichen planus flares and the potential role of trigger avoidance in disease management

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Abstract

Objective.

Many patients with oral lichen planus (OLP) report triggers of flares, some of which overlap with triggers of other oral diseases, including oral allergy syndrome and oral contact dermatitis. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of commonly reported triggers of OLP flares, their overlap with triggers of other oral diseases, and the potential role of trigger avoidance as a management strategy.

Study Design.

Questionnaire-based survey of 51 patients with biopsy-proven lichen planus with oral involvement seen in an academic dermatology specialty clinic and/or oral pathology clinic between June 2014 and June 2015.

Results.

Of the participants, 94% identified at least one trigger of their OLP flares. Approximately half of the participants (51%) reported at least one trigger that overlapped with known triggers of oral allergy syndrome, and 63% identified at least one trigger that overlapped with known triggers of oral contact dermatitis. Emotional stress was the most commonly reported trigger (77%). Regarding avoidance, 79% of the study participants reported avoiding their known triggers in daily life. Of those who actively avoided triggers, 89% reported an improvement in symptoms and 70% reported a decrease in the frequency of flares.

Conclusions.

Trigger identification and avoidance can play a potentially effective role in the management of OLP.

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