BACKGROUND: Erosive lichen planus is a severe, recurrent and recalcitrant disease that affects several mucosal areas, mostly the genital area and the mouth, but also, for example, the oesophagus and perianal area. The disease causes serious symptoms, because of the raw, de-epithelialized mucosa and healing with scars/adhesions, which affect the patient's life in many ways. It causes, for example, difficulties in eating, drinking and going to the bathroom. Treatment is complicated and, so far, few therapeutic drugs other than steroids have been reported. OBJECTIVES: As the disease has severe implications on the patient's life it is important to investigate the psychological health of the patients, as well as the influence of stress on their health and wellbeing, in order to improve treatment. STUDY DESIGN, SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Forty-nine consecutive patients with erosive lichen planus were included during a 1-year period. The study was carried out as 'state-of-the-last-month', and stress, state anxiety, depression and 'erosive lichen planus factors', i.e. symptoms affecting daily life, were assessed. RESULTS: Eighty-seven per cent of the patients had symptoms, severely affecting daily life. Unexpectedly, oral symptoms seemed to be the most prominent. Our results showed that depression, anxiety and stress were more common in patients with erosive lichen planus than in a control group. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Erosive lichen planus is a severe disease with symptoms and complications affecting the patient's life. Our results indicate that their psychological health is also affected and emphasize the need for close collaboration between physicians, dentists with special knowledge in oral medicine and counsellors/psychologists to optimize handling of these patients.
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