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Br J Dermatol. 2009 Mar;160(3):652-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2008.08984.x. Epub 2008 Dec 11.

Medium-dose ultraviolet (UV) A1 vs. narrowband UVB phototherapy in atopic eczema: a randomized crossover study.

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Department of Dermatology, Ruhr-University of Bochum, Gudrunstr. 56, D-44791 Bochum, Germany.



Ultraviolet (UV) A1 and narrowband (NB)-UVB have been reported to be effective treatments for atopic eczema (AE).


We aimed to compare the efficacy of medium-dose UVA1 and NB-UVB mono-phototherapy in patients with AE.


A randomized double-blind controlled crossover trial ( Identifier: NCT00419406) was conducted in which patients with AE received a 6-week course of both medium-dose UVA1 and NB-UVB. Clinical efficacy was assessed using the Six Area, Six Sign, Atopic Dermatitis (SASSAD) score and a visual analogue scale for pruritus. Assessment of health-related quality of life was performed using the Skindex-29. Total immunoglobulin E (IgE) and eosinophilic cationic protein (ECP) were evaluated at baseline and after each phototherapy course.


Twenty-eight patients who completed both UVA1 and NB-UVB phototherapy courses on an intention-to-treat basis were analysed according to the crossover design. Both interventions were associated with significant clinical improvement but there was no significant difference between treatments with respect to the mean +/- SD relative reduction (RR) of the clinical scores (SASSAD, 43.7 +/- 31.4% vs. 39.4 +/- 24.1%, P = 0.5; pruritus score, 16 +/- 61.8% vs. 25.2 +/- 30.5%, P = 0.5, respectively). There was no significant difference in the mean +/- SD RR of the Skindex-29 after UVA1 and NB-UVB phototherapy (12.7 +/- 18.8% vs. 16.5 +/- 17.6%, P = 0.1). Changes in the total IgE and ECP levels following UVA1 and NB-UVB did not differ significantly (P = 0.3 and P = 0.9, respectively).


A 6-week course of NB-UVB and UVA1 phototherapy of AE resulted in significant clinical improvement. With regard to efficacy and tolerability, both phototherapeutic modalities may be considered comparably good.

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