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Cumulative UV radiation dose and outcome in clinical practice: effectiveness of trioxsalen bath PUVA with minimal UVA exposure

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The cumulative artificial ultraviolet (UV) exposure dose of dermatological patients was prospectively monitored in clinical conditions for a total of 2 years (August 1997 – July 1999). We focused on whole body UV treatments, i.e. the trioxsalen (TMP) bath PUVA, the broad-band UVB, and the UVA plus UVB phototherapy.


Irradiance of the UV devices was calibrated with a spectroradiometer. The cumulative UV doses received by the patients were recorded. A visual analog scale scoring system (VAS) was employed to assess the improvement of various skin conditions at the end of the treatment course.


The analysis included 265 patients (141 females and 124 males) and a total of 311 UV treatment courses. Treatments consisted of 86 courses of TMP bath PUVA for psoriasis with a mean cumulative UVA dose of 3.54 J/cm2 and an improvement rate of 89%. For other conditions, 30 courses were needed, with a cumulative UVA dose of 1.47 J/cm2 and an improvement rate of 76%. Altogether, 47 UVB courses were undertaken for psoriasis, and the mean cumulative unweighted UV dose was 2.20 J/cm2, equivalent to 85 standard erythema doses (SED), and an improvement rate of 85%. A total of 25 UVB courses was used for other skin conditions with a mean UV dose of 1.05 J/cm2, equivalent to 40 SED, and an improvement rate of 71%. A total of 123 courses of UVA plus UVB phototherapy were completed, resulting in a mean cumulative dose of 73.01 J/cm2 for UVA and 0.75 J/cm2 for the unweighted UVB, equivalent to 29 SED. The VAS improvement rate was 85%.


The exceptionally low mean cumulative UVA dose in the TMP bath PUVA, taken together with the previous report showing no increase in the risk of squamous cell carcinoma or cutaneous malignant melanoma after TMP bath PUVA, suggests that TMP bath PUVA is an effective and safe therapeutic option.

Keywords: photochemotherapy; psoralen; ultraviolet therapy; visual analog scale

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: Päijät-Häme Central Hospital, Lahti, Finland

Publication date: October 1, 2000


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