Local narrowband UVB phototherapy vs. local PUVA in the treatment of chronic hand eczema

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Abstract

Background

Hand eczema is a chronic skin disorder characterized by a poor response to conventional therapies. Although local PUVA has been proven to be effective in the treatment of chronic hand eczema, little is known about the efficacy and safety of local narrowband UVB (TL-01) for this condition. The aim of our study was to compare the efficacy and safety of local narrowband UVB phototherapy with paint-PUVA in patients with chronic hand eczema of dry and dyshidrotic types unresponsive to conventional therapies.

Patients/methods

Fifteen patients (nine men and six women) with chronic hand eczema of dry and dyshidrotic types was included in this prospective, comparative study based on a left to right comparison pattern. The treatments were administered with local narrowband UVB irradiation on one hand and local paint-PUVA using 0.1% 8-methoxypsoralen gel on the other hand three times a week over a 9-week period. The NB-UVB irradiation was administered using a local NB-UVB system equipped with TL-01 lamps. The initial dose was 150 mJ/cm2 for each patient. An increasing percentile dose schedule based on an increase of 20% was used in every session, until a final dose of 2000 mJ/cm2 was reached. Evaluation of clinical scores was carried out every 3 weeks during the treatment period.

Results

Twelve of the 15 recruited patients completed the study. There was a statistically significant decrease in the mean clinical score at the third, sixth and nineth week in both groups. The difference in clinical response between the two treatment modalities was not statistically significant at the end of the 9-week treatment period. In the narrowband UVB-treated side, the tolerance of all the patients to the treatment was good all patients well-tolerated the treatment with the exception of mild xerosis that responded to topical emollients.

Conclusion

Local narrowband UVB phototherapy regimen is as effective as paint-PUVA therapy in patients with chronic hand eczema of dry and dyshidrotic types.

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