PUVA or photochemotherapy this is a type of phototherapy, which is used for severe and prevalent inflammatory skin diseases, such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. PUVA is a combined treatment, which consists of usage of photoactive material psoralen and total body skin irradiation UVA long wave rays. Psoralens – substances that increase the body skin sensitivity to ultraviolet rays. UVA rays penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin than UVB rays, because the PUVA therapy can be used in a variety of inflammatory skin diseases. Worldwide this method is used already since 1976. Prescribed a systemic PUVA therapy of whole body and PUVA baths.
Systemic PUVA therapy of whole body. 2 hours before UVA rays phototherapy procedure, the patient should take oxsaralen medicine prescribed by the doctor (dose depends on body weight). Systemic PUVA of full-body is prescribed treating severe atopic dermatitis, outspread psoriasis, severe itching of the skin and peripheral cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Physicians should evaluate a patient’s adjacent diseases, oral medication and liver function.
What to expect?
Oxsaralen medicine taken within two hours is absorbed and resolves the skin for UVA rays. During phototherapy the skin of full-body is illuminated by UVA rays. Duration is selected according to the skin phototype, nature of rashes, number of procedures performed, and etc. During the procedure, you will feel a heat, and after the treatment the skin may be slightly flushed. The maximum treatment effect is usually reached after 15–25 procedures. 24 hours after the procedure it is necessary to avoid the sun, wearing glasses against UV rays.
PUVA bath. This is a type of skin photochemotherapy affected by fluid with psoralen, and then illuminated by UVA rays. PUVA bath – a relatively safe method, because you do not need to take oxsaralen medicine; affect to internal organs and eyes is avoided. PUVA baths are prescribed to treat severe atopic dermatitis, generalized psoriasis, severe itching of skin and peripheral cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.
A patient spends 20 minutes in a warm bath with a psoralen liquid, which increases sensitivity of the skin to UVA rays. Immediately after the procedure is performed phototherapy with UVA. During the procedure you will feel a heat, after the procedure the skin may be slightly flushed. After phototherapy it is recommended shower, it is necessary to wash photosensitizing material, the skin should be embrocated with moisturizing cream (emollients), all over the day the sun must be avoided.
Suffering from palmar or plantar psoriasis or eczema, in PUVA baths can be sensitized only the relevant parts of the body.
Which procedure (UVB 311 nm, PUVA or the combined phototherapies) the most appropriate, decides a physician during the consultation. The procedure is selected according to the type of rashes, intensity of the disease, skin phototype, human age and other factors.