Childhood Pityriasis Lichenoides and Oral Erythromycin


Address correspondence to Sibel Ersoy-Evans, M.D., Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Hacettepe University, 06100 Sihhiye, Ankara, Turkey, or e-mail:


Abstract:  Pityriasis lichenoides (PL) is not uncommon in childhood, but current knowledge about the efficacy of oral erythromycin therapy for its treatment in children is limited. To investigate the role of oral erythromycin therapy in the treatment of PL in children, the records of 24 children with PL who had been started on oral erythromycin treatment at our institution between 2005 and 2008 were retrospectively reviewed. The study included 24 patients (14 male, 10 female) with a median age of 7 years (range 2–14) of whom 15 (62.5%) had PL chronica (PLC), six (25%) PL et varioliformis acuta (PLEVA), and three (2.5%) PLEVA–PLC overlap. History of upper respiratory tract infection was reported in 33% (n = 8) of the patients. History of drug intake and vaccination was noted in 20% (n = 5) and 20% (n = 5), respectively. The disease began during spring (30%, n = 7) or fall (30%, n = 7) in the majority of patients. The median duration of the disease was 11 months (range 1–48 months). Fifteen (68.2%) patients had more than 100 lesions. Distribution was diffuse in 82% (n = 18) of the cases and peripheral in the remainder (n = 6). Oral erythromycin was started at a dosage of 30 to 50 mg/kg per day in three to four divided dosages for 1 to 4 months. Good response was recorded in 64% and 73% of patients in the first and second months of therapy, respectively. Response rate rose to 83% in the third month. In those for whom follow-up data were available (n = 16), relapse was recorded in 12.5% (n = 3). Oral erythromycin may be an effective and well-tolerated treatment option for PL in children and should be continued for at least 3 months.