- PUVA stands for psoralen and ultraviolet A (UVA) 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 UVA light. 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. PUVA treatment is also called psoralen photochemotherapy.
* * *Acronym for oral administration of psoralen and subsequent exposure to long-wavelength ultraviolet light (uv-a); used to treat psoriasis.* * *psoralen ultraviolet A-range
* * *PUVA .pē-(.)yü-(.)vē-'ā n [psoralen ultraviolet A] photochemotherapy for psoriasis using psoralen and UVA
* * *psoralen + ultraviolet A: the combination of psoralen, a light-sensitive drug, and exposure to long-wave (315-400 nm) ultraviolet light (UVA). It was used in the East in ancient times, using natural sunlight as the light source, for the treatment of vitiligo. PUVA was introduced into Western medicine in 1973, principally for treating psoriasis; a number of other conditions also respond. The psoralen is usually taken as tablets but may be administered in a bath. The UVA is administered by means of specially designed light cabinets containing large numbers of fluorescent tubes.
* * *psoralen plus ultraviolet A; see under therapy.
Medical dictionary. 2011.