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Narrowband UVB may have edge in dermatitis therapy

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Narrowband ultraviolet B (NB UVB) and medium-dose ultraviolet A1 (MD UVA1) are equally effective in the treatment of moderate to severe atopic dermatitis. However, NB UVB has certain advantages, Dutch researchers report in the January issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Dr. J. Marja Oldhoff of University Medical Center Utrecht and colleagues note that in Holland, NB UVB is the first choice of treatment for moderate to severe atopic dermatitis. To investigate how this approach compared with the somewhat newer MD UVA1 technique, the researchers conducted an investigator-blinded comparison study in 13 patients.

They were randomized to receive NB UVB on one body side and MD UVA1 on the other. They received treatment 3 times a week for 8 weeks and were followed for a further 4 weeks. Although the preferred MD UVA1 regimen is 5 times weekly, the curtailed regimen was chosen in the interests of maintaining blinding.

The researchers found no significant difference in therapeutic effects, and there was no difference in cellular infiltrates.

Nevertheless, because NB UVB delivers less heat load and takes less time, the researchers conclude by suggesting that NB UVB should be "the phototherapy treatment of choice."

J Am Acad Dermatol 2009;60:77-84.

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