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Twenty-five patients with chronic oral lichen planus, usually of the atrophic-erosive type, were treated for 2 months with Etretinate® 0.6 mg/kg b.w./day, followed for 4 months by Etretinate® 0.3 mg/kg/day, or 0.1% Tretinoin® in an adhesive base. Complete resolution or improvement was seen in 85% of the lesions after first treatment. The number of patients with oral soreness and pain was significantly reduced (p < 0.001). During the second treatment, the improvement was maintained or even increased in about 70% of the patients, irrespective of the mode of treatment. Treatment was discontinued in one patient owing to moderately increased serum transaminase levels. The number of drug-related drop-outs was significantly lower than in a previous study utilizing an etretinate dose of about 1 mg/kg/day (p < 0.05). Other adverse effects were minor and tolerable. Retinoids offer an effective mode of therapy for severe oral lichen planus.