Pimecrolimus for the treatment of vulvar lichen sclerosus: a report of 4 cases.J Reprod Med. 2004 Oct; 49(10):778-80.JR
Lichen sclerosus is a chronic cutaneous disorder with a predilection for the vulva. The etiology is unknown. Superpotent topical corticosteroids are the most effective treatment. Dermal atrophy, however, is a well-known complication associated with changes of lichen sclerosus superpotent topical corticosteroids. In addition, some women do not respond adequately to topical steroids. Therefore, a treatment regimen that does not rely on corticosteroids may be beneficial. As lichen sclerosus is a T-lymphocyte-mediated disorder, it has been suggested that a topical macrolide immunosuppressant, such as pimecrolimus, may be a safe and effective alternative treatment for lichen sclerosus. Since pimecrolimus does not affect collagen synthesis, it does not cause thinning of the dermis.
Four patients with biopsy-proven lichen sclerosus were treated with 1% pimecrolimus cream twice daily. At the end of 3 months of treatment, 3 of the 4 patients reported complete resolution of their symptoms of vulvar itching and burning. Two patients had repeat vulvar biopsies at the end of treatment that showed reversal of the histologic changes of lichen sclerosus.
In this small series, pimecrolimus appeared to be a safe and effective treatment of vulvar lichen sclerosus. A randomized, controlled trial comparing pimecrolimus and clobetasol propionate should be performed to determine which is the safer and more effective medication for the long-term treatment of lichen sclerosus.