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December 1997

Psoralen Bath Plus UV-A TherapyPossibilities and Limitations

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Munich, Germany.

Arch Dermatol. 1997;133(12):1597-1603. doi:10.1001/archderm.1997.03890480123023

Oral psoralen plus UV-A (PUVA) therapy was originally developed for the treatment of vitiligo.1,2 With the introduction of potent UV-A irradiation sources between 1972 and 1974, UV-A irradiation following psoralen application was found to be a highly efficient therapy for proriasis.3-5 The acronym PUVA was created and the potential use of PUVA was investigated in a large spectrum of different inflammatory and neoplastic skin diseases.6-8 Psoralen plus UV-A has profoundly influenced the therapeutic concepts of dermatology, as demonstrated in the recent review by Honig et al.8 An alternative approach, psoralen bath plus UV-A therapy (PUVA bath therapy) that avoids the adverse effects associated with oral PUVA therapy has increasingly been used during recent years. Psoralen bath plus UV-A therapy is not simply a technical variant of photochemotherapy; it is obviously superior to oral PUVA, at least for some indications, and it has considerably enlarged the spectrum of diseases responsive to photochemotherapy.