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J Reprod Med. 2007 Jul;52(7):645-53.

Novel bioadhesive patch-type system for photodynamic vulvodynia therapy after delivery of 5-aminolevulinic acid: preliminary evaluation.

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Department of Gynaecology, Belfast City Hospital; School of Pharmacy, Queen's University Belfast, UK.



To assess the applicability of photodynamic therapy (PDT) in the management of vulvodynia whereby a novel, patch-type system, loaded with 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA), was used to administer PDT to vulvar regions displaying the characteristics of vulvodynia.


Eleven patients underwent PDT using a bioadhesive patch to deliver ALA over 4 hours. A nonlaser light source delivered 100 J cm(-2) to the target area using red light of 630 nm. Fluorescence of protoporphyrin IX was observed under ultraviolet light illumination, with no significant difference found between that produced after the first and second applications of the patch.


There was a significant reduction (p= 0.0077) in overall symptoms after completion of treatment. No significant alleviation (p = 0.1088) in pain during intercourse was observed following treatment. Eight patients experienced a symptomatic response, while 3 exhibited no improvements in symptoms. No adverse reactions or worsening of reported symptoms was reported.


The results suggest that PDT is of value in the management of vulvodynia, most probably as a viable option to conventional approaches. Further studies involving larger numbers of patients are required to confirm the efficacy of PDT in the management of vulvodynia.

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