Role of streptococcal infection in the etiopathogenesis of pityriasis lichenoides chronica and the therapeutic efficacy of azithromycin: a randomized controlled trial.

Citation:
Elbendary, A., R. Youssef, M. R. E. Abdel-Halim, D. abd el halim, D. A. El Sharkawy, M. Alfishawy, M. A. Gad, A. A. Gad, and M. F. Elmasry, "Role of streptococcal infection in the etiopathogenesis of pityriasis lichenoides chronica and the therapeutic efficacy of azithromycin: a randomized controlled trial.", Archives of dermatological research, 2022.

Abstract:

The exact aetiology of pityriasis lichenoides chronica (PLC) remains unknown. While phototherapy is the most investigated therapeutic modality, azithromycin has been used scarcely. The aim of this study is to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of azithromycin in the treatment of PLC compared to NB-UVB and evaluating the presence of streptococcal infection as a possible etiological factor in PLC patients. The study was designed as a randomised controlled trial. Twenty-four patients with PLC were randomly allocated into either azithromycin (n = 13, standard dose every 10 days) or NB-UVB (n = 11, thrice weekly) groups. End of study (EOS) was either complete clearance of lesions or a maximum of 8 weeks. Therapeutic efficacy was defined as percent reduction in lesions and was calculated for the rash as a whole, erythematous papules alone, and hypopigmented lesions alone and graded into complete, very-good, good, poor or no response. Anti-streptolysin O titre (ASOT), anti-deoxyribonuclease B titre (anti-DNaseB) and throat culture were evaluated at day 0. No significant difference existed between both groups as regards therapeutic efficacy. At EOS, NB-UVB achieved significantly more percent reduction in the extent of hypopigmented lesions and consequently in the rash as a whole (p = 0.001, p = 0.034, respectively). The extent of the rash as a whole was significantly less in the NB-UVB at EOS (p = 0.029, respectively). The effect of NB-UVB on hypopigmented lesions appeared early at week 4 of treatment. Only two patients, one from each group, relapsed during the 3 month follow-up. Evidence of recent streptococcal infection was present in 79% of the cases, mainly in the form of elevated ASOT (94.7%). It was significantly more encountered in young children (< 13 years) (p = 0.03) and was associated with more extent of erythematous papules and consequently with more extent of the rash as a whole (p = 0.05 and p = 0.01, respectively). It did not affect outcome of therapy at EOS. Azithromycin did not show more favorable response in patients with recent streptococcal infection. Therapeutic efficacy of azithromycin is comparable to NB-UVB in treatment of PLC; however, NB-UVB is superior in management of hypopigmented lesions. It is highly suggested that PLC could be a post streptococcal immune mediated disorder.Registration number: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03831269.