Psoralen photochemotherapy

Psoralen photochemotherapy
A type of therapy in which the patient is exposed first to psoralens (drugs containing chemicals that react with ultraviolet light to cause darkening of the skin) and then to ultraviolet A (UVA light). Psoralen photochemotherapy is also called PUVA (from psoralen + UVA). PUVA is, for instance, used to treat vitiligo (white patches on the skin). It is time-consuming and care must be taken to avoid side effects, which can sometimes be severe. The treatment involves taking psoralen by mouth (orally) or applying it to the skin (topically). This is followed by carefully timed exposure to ultraviolet A (UVA) light from a special lamp or to sunlight. Patients usually receive treatments in their doctors' offices so they can be carefully watched for any side effects. Patients must minimize exposure to sunlight at other times. The goal of PUVA therapy in vitiligo is to repigment the white patches.

Medical dictionary. 2011.


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