Phototherapy and photopheresis: old and new indications

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The benefit of UV light in the treatment of skin disorders has been known for decades, but new discoveries have been made throughout the years since its first use, including new applications and different UV delivering devices. Broadband UVB has been largely replaced by narrowband UVB and, for selected uses, targeted narrowband UVB (excimer) is becoming more widely available. Psoralen UVA (photochemotherapy) remains the phototherapy of choice for certain disorders, but it has widely been replaced by narrowband UVB. UVA1 has currently a growing number of applications. Photopheresis is an extracorporeal form of photochemotherapy, mainly used in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and graft-versus-host disease but also in autoimmune diseases. Herein, we review phototherapy’s and photopheresis’ applications after a brief summary on their mechanisms of action, dosing and administration, and safety issues.

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