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J Dermatolog Treat. 2003;14 Suppl 2:17-20.

Retrospective study of the efficacy of narrowband UVB and acitretin.

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Department of Dermatology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 1 Gustave Levy Place, New York, NY 10029-6574, USA.



In this retrospective analysis the effect of narrowband ultraviolet B treatment in combination with acitretin is reviewed in 40 patients with plaque psoriasis. Narrowband UVB is highly effective for plaque psoriasis, but requires multiple phototherapy treatments, making patient compliance problematic. Oral acitretin is moderately effective as monotherapy, but when combined with ultraviolet B or PUVA, its use has reduced the number of treatments required for clearing, and has resulted in clearing of patients otherwise refractory to these phototherapeutic modalities. There is only sparse data on the combination of acitretin with narrowband UVB. We therefore analyzed data on 40 patients treated with this combination.


The majority of patients treated had psoriasis that was refractory to treatment with broadband ultraviolet B, monotherapy with narrowband UVB, monotherapy with acitretin, or the combination of acitretin and broadband UVB. In this difficult-to-treat group of patients, the combination of low dose acitretin (25 mg po daily) and narrowband UVB three times per week resulted in greater than 75% improvement in 29 (72.5%) patients. Only 5 (12.5%) patients had less than 50% improvement. The combination was well tolerated and associated with typical retinoid and narrowband UVB side effects including elevation of serum lipids, burn and cheilitis.


The combination of acitretin with narrowband UVB results in faster improvement even in more difficult-to-treat patients. In combination the treatments appear to have synergistic effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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