Objective: This study aimed to report on a novel approach to therapy in a large private dermatogynecology practice using multimodal therapies with adjunctive use of systemic agents where necessary.
Materials and Methods: This was a retrospective audit of the presentation and management of 131 patients with a clinical diagnosis of vulvovaginal lichen planus.
Results: The most frequently presenting symptoms were genital soreness, itch, and burning. Of the 131 patients, 39 (30%) had extragenital disease, mainly oral. Eighty-four (64%) had no external disease. Twenty-two (17%) had introital erosions as the only visible abnormality. Fifty-five (42%) had some degree of labial fusion. Two had full-thickness vulval intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN). Remission induction was achieved in most patients with superpotent topical steroids, but 53 (40%) of 131 patients used oral prednisolone either as an adjunct therapy or alone. All compliant patients achieved symptomatic and objective disease control in a mean of 7.5 weeks. Of the 131 patients, 48 (37%) required multimodal therapy to maintain their initial improvement. Forty-five (34.3%) patients used topical tacrolimus, usually with topical corticosteroids, for maintenance. Eleven (8.5%) required low-dose weekly methotrexate. Fourteen patients experienced adverse reactions severe enough to lead to the cessation of that treatment. The mean length of follow-up was 6.4 years (range = 1 mo to 15 y). The 2 patients with VIN at presentation have had no recurrence. No other patient has yet developed VIN or carcinoma.
Conclusions: Long-term symptomatic and objective control of vulvovaginal lichen planus is possible but requires multimodal therapies, flexible treatment programs, and the judicious use of oral agents.