Using UV Light Therapy to Treat Psoriasis - New American Academy of Dermatology Guidelines

October 26, 2009

The American Academy of Dermatology recently released guidelines for the management and treatment of psoriasis using UV light therapy, including patient considerations and the use of UV therapy alone or in conjunction with other treatments.

The American Academy of Dermatology recently released guidelines for the management and treatment of psoriasis using UV light therapy, including patient considerations and the use of UV therapy alone or in conjunction with other treatments.

The guidelines highlight four types of UV therapy for the treatment of psoriasis. Narrowband (NB)-UVB therapy has been shown to be more effective in clearing psoriasis than broadband (BB)-UVB therapy, according to the researchers. PUVA photochemotherapy “often leads to the clearing of psoriasis typically within 24 treatments with remissions lasting between three and six months,” according to the researchers, “and uses psoralens—a group of photosensitizing compounds—to sensitize cells to the effects of UVA light.” Targeted phototherapy, which uses an excimer laser to specifically target and treat affected skin areas without impacting unaffected skin, generally results in long-term improvement for patients, according to the researchers.

In addition to treatment options, the guidelines also discussed the need for physicians to conduct a complete history and physical exam of patients before starting any kind of UV light therapy. Dosages can vary for patients, depending on how light or dark their skin is.

For the right patients and with close monitoring by a dermatologist, UV light therapy can be a safe and effective treatment for psoriasis patients who might not have responded well to other traditional therapies or for various reasons might not be good candidates for systemic medications,” said dermatologist David M. Pariser, MD, FAAD, president of the Academy. “Dermatologists can recommend the best treatment plan for patients with mild to severe psoriasis, helping them improve their condition and overall quality of life.”

complete copy of the guidelines.

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