Lichen Planus recurrence

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70 year old male who had lichen planus in the late 1980s (In those days it was called Lichen Planens).  I had both lower arms covered in flat topped spots which were incredibly itchy and didn't respond to any of the palliative medications or mild steroid creams.  It took months before my GP eventually discovered a picture in a medical journal which identified the affliction as Lichen Planens (Planus).  The use of a strong steroid relieved the symptoms and eventually the rash seemed to disappear.  A brown/grey pigment remained for some months, gradually fading away.  It was at this point that I realised that I had lines on my thumb nails with swirly patterns at irregular intervals.  Examination under a 10x magnifier showed that on the skin below the nails on both thumbs, there remained a single flat topped spot which I believe was as a result of lichen planus still being present and active at a low level.  From time to time one of the spots would vanish and the lines on that nail would resume their straight progress along my thumb.  After some time the spot would reappear near where it had been previously.  These only caused a minor inconvenience in that when the swirls grew out to the end of the nail the nail would flake and be very weak needing daily attention.

Now, 13 weeks after beginning a 5 year course of Alendronic Acid for Osteoporosis, I have two arms full of incredibly itchy spots which are behaving in the same way as those during my previous Lichen Planus attack.  The thumb spots have both disappeared but I now have brown marks and some itching on both legs and I just hope that there isn't really a link between the Lichen Planus although medical journals suggest that the introduction or cessation of the taking of drugs can trigger a recurrence of an earlier attack of Lichen Planus which can be more severe than previously.  It is known that Lichen Planus is a symptom of a problem with the auto-immune system and I have a strong belief that I shall end up having to give up the Alendronic Acid to get rid of the Lichen Planus.  My appointment with my MD is still several weeks away and I really don't have a lot of faith that he will be able to come up with a long term answer where many others have failed

I'd love to hear from anyone who has got any other experience of this or similar problems which could possibly help me?

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23 Replies

  • Posted

    Following on from my previous post,  the itching got worse and I decided that any action was better than scratching, so I began taking some Loratadine tablets that I had for insect bites, and at the same time I lathered the arms in a Barrier/Moisturising cream which I had for a dry skin problem. By the end of the day the itching had subsided to a bearable level and I even had a good night's sleep.  Continued this for a few days and then noticed that the spots were fading so I stopped the treatment and had a good couple of days until Yesterday when the itching redness and spots re-appeared.  Quickly resumed the medication and the itching quieted down again.

    I now don't know if it's the Loratadine or the cream or both that is causing the improvements so I think that a little experimenting is needed. Since it is the least active, I shall stop the cream and see what happens.  If the itch comes back I shall know that the cream is necessary.  If it doesn't come back, I shall continue for a few days and than stop the pills again while applying the cream and see what happens. I know what happens when I stop them both!  It could be that either of the medications is sufficient. 

    Watch This Space!

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    • Posted

      Having got the latest outbreak under control, I intend to stop taking the Loratadine after this Saturday. I know that there is a time-lag of around four days before the build-up of the drug in my blood dissipates, so it could be next Wednesday/Thursday before I would begin to feel any adverse effects from the drug withdrawal. So I shall wait and see what happens! Will report back after I have either some or no evidence.

       

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  • Posted

    Have had lichen planus since December 2013 on ankles and feet which have recently spread to the soles of my feet where I have developped lesions. I use coconut oil, castor oil (read The Oil That Heals) and for my lesions Dermagen C cream. The steroidal creams didn't work so have been detoxing and following my naturopath's advice. As long as I can manage it for the rest of my life I'm content.  
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    • Posted

      So far, the parafin wax and moisturinsing/barrier cream seems to be working,  I've only noticed a slight background itch which only surfaces when I peel off the jumpers that I wear.  If things don't work out, I may try thecoconut/castor oil, at least it sounds non-toxic.
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    • Posted

      The improvement has continued and I shall definitely never try the loratadine route again. The nails are improving and whilst there are plenty of spots on the lower arms, they only itch mildly towards the 12 hours after cream application. I ought to visit my GP but I'm fairly certain that he would want me to use Dermovate again and then there would be all the attendant thin skin etc. problems. I suppose that I shall have to continue with the cream until it runs out and then try the coconut/castor oil treatment and just keep a close watch on the progress and as long as things don't get worse, just put up with the inconvenience.
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    • Posted

      Nice. Good for you. What do you do for the nails. Just apply the barrier creme on it ?

      Coconut oil is good. Get virgin coconut oil.

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    • Posted

      My daughter bought me a preparation called Nail Envy by OPI and this seems to stop the flaking and cracking. One application will last several days and then I just remove and re-apply.  It's transparent and seems to act like a barrier cream but is hard and gives a fair amount of stability to the rest of the nail.  Of course, I can't see what is happening to the grooves and patterns when I have applied this and have to look between applications.

      Will try the virgin coconut oil since my bulk buy barrier/moisturiser is now almost finished.

      Thanks again for the info.

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    • Posted

      Well the improvement with the arms has continued but the pigmentation left behind is still there.  Unfortunately, the LP has now begun to spread on my legs - it isn't bad and I think that I've caught it in time with the creme.  I shall continue both arms and legs where it is visible.  I daren't stop without something to replace it and at least I know that this works for me. Got a prescription in for some more.  This could be a long haul.
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    • Posted

      I checked this product is available on Amazon. Its a nail strengthener. Thanks for the info. One of my nails had a bubble like lift in the middle and eventually it dried and I had to trim around it. I hope the rest of the nail just grows normally.

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Aristotle,

      My mother is having Lichen Planus

      From Dec 2015 .. 2 years. Till now she is getting on Legs and Hands ..

      I need help to understand how should I help her treat this disease..

      Life force Homeopathy we tried using the medicines given by them but this did not reflect.

      Should I approach Allopathy Doctors to approach this disease ? What should be my next Step please suggest

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  • Posted

    My uncle had lichen planus. As I know he used an uv-b lamp for treatment. Phototherapy works very well. In my opinion, my uncle's amazing results prove the efficacy of narrow band UVB in the treatment of lichen planus site uvb-lamps.
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    • Posted

      Hi rajeshkiwi,

      I haven't found any further information regarding the use of UVB on my legs and I'm reluctant to experiment with my UV lamp because I don't know the details of which type of UV it gives off. I do know that infra red - heat - causes the itching to increase significantly. The LP on my legs seems to have responded to the cream and only itches at a very low level which doesn't bother me. The LP on my arms is not too bad but is still there and in the evening and early morning when the creme has mostly been absorbed or dried up, the itching is at a fairly high level.  I'm condidering a mid-afternoon re-creaming to at least hopefully reduce the late evening itching. Maybe I should get a bathful of the creme and just spend my time in there until the LP subsides!  I'm still reluctant to revisit the doctor because his answer will just be steroids and whilst these work, my skin is already fairly thin and I can do without risking tearing what's left of it. Having thought of the mid-afternoon creaming, I shall go and indulge myself before the itching increases in level. The nails are still very lined and squiggly but the alendronic acid I take for osteoporosis appears to have hardened them somewhat and I no longer have the planar peeling that I had previously just the infernal itching. I'll see how I get on over the next few days and report back.

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    • Posted

      Haven't been able to find a medicated coconut oil that is suitable and am still looking. Things seem to take more time nowadays.
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    • Posted

      The best coconut oil is virgin coconut oil. You may get it in the supermarket or in organic stores. It will be a bit cloudy in appearance. I used it on my lips. My second alternative is olive oil just as a filler. I dont think it heals but atleast it does not worsent the condition while still lubricating. 

      What is the barrier creme you are using ?

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Rajeshkiwi,

      Thanks for the reply.

      The cream that I use is DIPROBASE. It's got white soft paraffin, cetostearyl alcohol, liquid paraffin, macrogol cetostearyl ether, chlorocresol, sodium dihydrogen phosphate, sodium hydroxide, phosphoric acid and purified water. It's available in tubes containing 15g or 50g and a pump dispenser containing 500g. Applied in a thin layer and massaged thoroughly into the affected area.

      Other than stopping the itching, It seems to not have a lot of effect on the spots that were already in existance but it stops the newer spots from getting to the itching stage and they slowly disappear.  Apart from the pigment, my arms are mostly clear of itchy spots and the number of new patches is reducing. It's not so good on my legs although there are only a few small patches on my shins. It worked initially and the spots subsided but then the surrounding skin began to itch independently suggesting a separate skin problem. I notice that my skin is extremely sensitive to infra red heat and all the itches are worse when it's warm. Have still managed to avoid the steroid creams and I get the diprobase on free prescription.

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    • Posted

      I've posted an article regarding my experience with Alendronic Acid and Lichen Planus nail problems, in Alendronic Acid forum.  It's just an observational interest article and no recommendation is intended.
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    • Posted

      Hi

      I've just continued using the cream as above, gradually reducing the amount. I've stopped attending to my legs and suspect that that may have been a bit of eczema. They have stopped itching. The itching on my arms has reduced and doesn't give me any bother but I think I need to leave it for a while before I actually stop using the creme. I got another free half-litre just in case I need it. Have now come off the alendronic acid which I blamed on the resurgence of my LP.  Noticed already that the nails are brittle and breaking again. You can't win!

      All the best

      Aristotle

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    • Posted

      Hello Mary,

      Will you please share your uncle experience with UV-B and lichen planus? was it done at the doctor's office and is he still in remission? I am suffering from LP and I would love to hear your feedback 

       

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