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July 12, 1976

Ineffectiveness of β-Carotene In Lupus Erythematosus

Author Affiliations

University of Southern California School of Medicine Los Angeles

JAMA. 1976;236(2):138-139. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270020012004

To the Editor.—  It is well known that the skin lesions of both discoid and systemic lupus erythematosus (LE) are frequently aggravated or precipitated by ultraviolet exposure.1 Studies have shown that rays primarily in the 290- to 320-nm range will aggravate or induce discoid lesions in photosensitive patients.2 β-Carotene is a synthetic carotenoid pigment normally found in green and yellow vegetables, which is nontoxic although it stains skin and is known to reduce the photosensitivity reaction to visible light in the range of 380 to 500 nm.3 Mathews-Roth et al3 demonstrated that normal volunteers were protected from sunburn by the oral administration of β-carotene, and that it was effective as an oral photoprotective agent in erythropoietic protoporphyria.4 Because photosensitivity is associated with LE, we wished to investigate the possibility that agents protective against longer wave length ultraviolet radiation might have some ameliorative effect on