Efficacy of topical PUVA soaks for palmoplantar dermatoses: an audit

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With a lack of evidence base for individual topical PUVA protocols, treatment is presently based on the consensus of current practice. This audit was designed to investigate the effectiveness of topical PUVA for palmoplantar dermatoses.


Phototherapy notes were reviewed on all patients who received hand and/or foot PUVA 2002–2007 in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust (NHSCT), Northern Ireland.


Thirty patients met the inclusion criteria for the study. The mean number of treatments, maximum single UVA dose, and cumulative dose, were 18.4, 4.2 J/cm2, and 48.3 J/cm2, respectively. A positive response to treatment occurred in 51.3% of patients, which fell short of the 70% standard set. In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, number of treatments (P=0.04) and maximum single UVA dose (P=0.03) were the only variables associated with positive treatment outcome. The response was not influenced significantly by skin type, concurrent topical treatments, or cumulative UVA dose.

Limitations to the study

Small patient numbers may have prevented the statistical significance of individual variables.


UV dose increments should be clearly defined to avoid excess caution at the expense of an adequate patient response, and a minimum of 20 treatments administered to all patients, if tolerated.

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