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Paired comparison of bathwater versus oral delivery of 8-methoxypsoralen in psoralen plus ultraviolet: A therapy for chronic palmoplantar psoriasis.

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Research Unit of Photodermatology, Medical University Graz, Graz, Austria.



Both bath psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA) and oral PUVA with 8-methoxypsoralen (8-MOP) have been successfully used for the treatment of recalcitrant palmoplantar psoriasis. This trial was designed to assess the efficacy and side effects of the different treatment modalities in a randomized half-side comparison.


Eight patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis on soles (n = 6) and/or palms (n = 8) were randomly assigned to receive bath PUVA treatment on one side and oral PUVA on the other. Initial treatment dose was 50% of the minimal phototoxic dose evaluated for bath PUVA and oral PUVA. Treatment was given three times a week for 4 weeks. Before treatment and every week a severity index (SI) was assessed by summing the scores of erythema, infiltration, scaling and vesicles evaluated on a scale from 0 to 4. After 4 weeks of treatment the half-side trial was finished and the treatment was continued on both sides with the more effective treatment regimen.


Both bath PUVA and oral PUVA achieved a reduction of the mean initial SI from 5.9 (95% confidence intervals (CI) 4.5-8.0) to 3.3 (1.8-6.0) (44% SI reduction, P < 0.005, Student's paired t-test) and 6.0 (5.0-7.8) to 2.9 (1.8-4.0) (52% SI reduction; P < 0.005), respectively. The statistical comparison of the entire 4-week study period revealed a significant better effect in lesions treated with oral PUVA compared with bath PUVA (P = 0.033). However, at 4 weeks, there was no significant difference between the achieved SI reduction of oral PUVA and bath PUVA. Systemic side effects (nausea and/or dizziness) were only observed after oral PUVA.


This study gives evidence that in the first 4 treatment weeks oral PUVA is slightly more effective than bath PUVA but the former has more systemic side effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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