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J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011 May;64(5):936-49. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2009.12.054. Epub 2011 Mar 22.

A review of phototherapy protocols for psoriasis treatment.

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Center for Dermatology Research, Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157-1071, USA.


Phototherapy is a mainstay in the treatment of psoriasis and is available as psoralen plus UVA (PUVA), broadband UVB (BB-UVB), and narrowband UVB (NB-UVB). Phototherapy can be administered in the hospital, outpatient clinic, or in the patient's home. The purpose of this review is to provide some practical guidance to general dermatologists and residents on the specifics of using phototherapy, which, despite its decreasing use, remains one of our most safe and effective treatment strategies for psoriasis care. We conducted a literature review of home phototherapy, BB-UVB, NB-UVB, and PUVA phototherapy using PubMed, MD Consult, and reference lists. A variety of protocols for BB-UVB, NB-UVB, and PUVA have been used in clinical trials. NB-UVB is more effective than BB-UVB and safer than PUVA. Typical regimens for NB-UVB involve dosing 3 times per week for at least 3 months. Treatment must be independently developed to suit each participant's needs. Ultraviolet light is an effective, relatively safe modality that is a valuable tool in the treatment of psoriasis. NB-UVB phototherapy is considered the first-line treatment for extensive plaque type psoriasis.

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