UVA1 phototherapy for genital lichen sclerosus

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Abstract

Background

Lichen sclerosus (LS) is characterized histologically by an inflammatory T-cell infiltrate, sclerosis and thickening of the dermis, and epidermal atrophy. Ultraviolet (UV) A1 therapy has been shown to be effective in the management of morphea and scleroderma, diseases that have some histological and clinical similarities with LS, and more recently in extragenital LS.

Aim

To determine the effectiveness of UVA1 therapy for genital LS.

Methods

Seven women with severe genital LS uncontrolled by ultrapotent topical corticosteroids, with a median age of 62 years (range 48–78) and disease duration of 6–47 years, were treated with UVA1 therapy from a high output source. After completion of UVA1 therapy, a clinician and the patient graded the overall response of symptoms and physical signs.

Results

Five patients improved with therapy. Three obtained moderate improvement in overall disease severity and two had minimal improvement. Of these five, one relapsed within 3 months and another after a year. Both had a further course of UVA1 therapy, resulting in minimal improvement in one and moderate improvement in the other. In the remaining three, disease severity had improved to a point where intermittent use of topical corticosteroids resulted in acceptable control.

Discussion

UVA1 therapy may be of benefit in the management of vulval LS, a disease that is often poorly responsive to standard therapies. The therapy is well tolerated and could provide an acceptable therapeutic option for patients with severe disease.

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