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May 1979

Beta Carotene in Congenital Porphyria

Arch Dermatol. 1979;115(5):641. doi:10.1001/archderm.1979.04010050065046

To the Editor.—  In answer to Dr G. S. Stretcher's request for information on the use of beta carotene in congenital porphyria (Archives 114:1242-1243, 1978), I would like to bring to his attention two reports of the use of beta carotene in this disease. The first is by my colleagues and myself, in which we treated two children with some success,1 and the second is by Jung, in which he reported improved light tolerance in an 18-year-old man, who had taken beta carotene for four years.2It would appear that beta carotene may indeed be effective in preventing the appearance of new skin lesions in congenital porphyria, if given in high enough doses. The dose should be adjusted for each patient, until no new lesions appear. Up to 300 mg/day can be given, but experience suggests that much lower doses are adequate. I, as well as Dr Stretcher,