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Narrow-Band UVB Effective in Atopic Eczema

Robert Finn

Narrow-band ultraviolet B phototherapy is effective, and ultraviolet A phototherapy is ineffective, as an adjunct treatment of adult atopic eczema, according to a randomized controlled trial conducted by Dr. Nick J. Reynolds of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (England) and his colleagues.

A total of 47 patients with atopic eczema completed the study after having been randomly assigned to receive UVB phototherapy, UVA phototherapy, or visible light twice weekly for 24 exposures. Patients were permitted to use emollients and moderate-to-potent topical steroids but not superpotent topical steroids (Lancet 357[9273]:2012-16, 2001).

Patients receiving narrow-band UVB (311 nm) started at a dose of 0.4 J/cm2. The dose was increased gradually to a maximum of 1.5 J/cm2. Patients receiving UVA started at a dose of 5 J/cm2. The dose was increased gradually to a maximum of 15 J/cm2.

At 3 months after the end of therapy, 12 (67%) of 18 patients receiving narrow-band UVB showed at least moderate improvement in their total disease activity scores, compared with 6 (32%) of 19 patients receiving UVA and 6 (35%) of 17 patients exposed only to visible light.

Skin and Allergy News , November 2001, vol 32, nr.11

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