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Phototherapy Guidance Should Reflect Variance Among Skin Diseases, Researchers Say

May 04, 2021

Cumulative doses of phototherapy and related costs varied greatly among seven skin diseases in a single-center analysis of 561 patients published online ahead of print in the journal Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine. 

Noting that current recommendations do not adequately account for the differences identified in the study, researchers from University Hospital Basel in Switzerland wrote that a “more disease‐specific stratification of phototherapy could not only help to optimize outcomes, but also to facilitate comparability of clinical trials using phototherapy.” 

The retrospective study classified patients treated with phototherapy between March 2014 and April 2019 into seven diagnostic groups. Researchers looked at cumulative doses, costs, and side effects by group and gender.  

Among the study population of 561 patients, 83.7% were treated with cabin NB-UVB, according to the study. The average cumulative dose was 17.79 ± 17.11 J/cm2. 

Patients with vitiligo, psoriasis, and men were treated with significantly higher cumulative NB-UVB doses, both cabin and local. Consequently, they had significantly higher UV-related costs compared with other groups, researchers reported. 

Patients with atopic dermatitis and pruritus, meanwhile, were treated with significantly higher cumulative UVA1 doses compared with patients with nonatopic eczema.

The complication rate in the study population was 3.8%, researchers found. Specifically, 3.4% of patients experienced erythema, 0.4% experienced aggravated itch, and 0.2% experienced worsening of symptoms.  

Jolynn Tumolo


Merkel TA, Navarini A, Mueller S. Differences in phototherapy among skin diseases and genders in real-life conditions-A retrospective analysis of the cumulative doses, numbers of sessions, side effects and costs in 561 patients [published online ahead of print, 2021 Apr 1]. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2021;10.1111/phpp.12683. doi:10.1111/phpp.12683

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