J. Popovsky, C. Camisa
It is obvious from the review of the literature that most treatments for oral diseases such as lichen planus, pemphigoid, and pemphigus are based on case reports, anecdotes, and small uncontrolled studies. Efforts must be made to perform more controlled studies to evaluate the efficacy of new treatments. Small numbers of patients at each site and multiple-drug therapy make this task difficult. Dermatologists should familiarize themselves with the newer immunosuppressive agents available. Use of these drugs requires knowledge of their pharmacokinetics and potential side effects, so that they may be used effectively and safely. Relatively low doses of azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, and cyclosporine should then be added to the dermatologist's armamentarium for the treatment of severe or recalcitrant diseases. Old drugs are resurfacing with new (but often off-label) uses as the underlying mechanisms of disease become understood. Thalidomide and mycophenolate mofetil are two examples of promising drugs for the future of dermatology.