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Notable Notes
December 2013

What’s in a Name?Goeckerman Therapy

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville
  • 2University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville
JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(12):1409. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.7477

In 1925, William H. Goeckerman of the Mayo Clinic reported the successful use of broad-spectrum UV radiation and topical crude coal tar in the treatment of psoriasis. Patients were hospitalized, and “White’s crude coal tar ointment” was applied to psoriasis patches for a period of 24 hours before removal with olive oil. The patient was then exposed to UV quartz light, and following a soap and water or “oatmeal and soda bath,” the tar was reapplied and the process repeated daily. In his article, Goeckerman stated, “If the therapist is thoroughly acquainted with the effectiveness of his lamp and handles it deftly, it should be possible to remove all patches of psoriasis, in practically all cases, in from three to four weeks.”1

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