The action spectrum between 320 and 400 nm for clearance of psoriasis by psoralen photochemotherapy


We have compared the effectiveness of oral 8-methoxypsoralen photochemotherapy (PUVA) using ultraviolet fluorescent lamps with peak emission at either 325, 352 or 370 nm in the treatment of 24 Patients with psoriasis. The forearms of each patient were treated three times weekly with two of the three lamps. The erythmal sensitivity of each patient was tested before the first treatment to ensure that equally erythemal doses of radiation were given from each of the lamps. A side-to-side comparison was used to assess response to treatment at weekly intervals for the 6 weeks of the trial. The lamp with peak emission at 325 nm was shown to be significantly superior to either of the other lamps in terms of response assessed at weekly intervals, and time to clearance of psoriasis. An action spectrum, constructed from the median doses required for clearance of psoriasis using each of the lamps showed that the effectiveness of the radiation decreased exponentially with increasing wavelength throughout the UVA waveband, such that radiation at 320 nm was an order of magnitude more effective than at 360 nm. This suggests that lamps with peak emission around 325 nm will be more dfective than those conventionally used in PUVA units with a peak emission at 352 nm. Lamps with peak emission around 325 nm are also highly effective in the treatment of psoriasis with phototherapy alone. Thus a single treatment unit containing these lamps could be used either for PUVA or ultraviolet phototherapy of psoriasis, avoiding duplication or irradiation equipment.

British Journal of Dermatology 1991; 124(5):443-448