PUVA is an excellent skin care treatment for patients with chronic, stubborn conditions such as psoriasis, vitiligo and eczema. PUVA is a treatment method which involves exposure of the skin to an ultraviolet A light. Ultraviolet A light produces relatively little effect when used alone. A drug called psoralen, when taken orally or applied directly to the skin, increases the sensitivity of the skin to ultraviolet A light, thus enhancing its beneficial effect. The combination of psoralen and ultraviolet A light is called PUVA.
Ultraviolet A light is delivered by specialized units lined with columns of lamps. The first exposure will last only seconds. Exposure time will be slowly increased according to response. Within two or three months, as the skin clears, a maintenance schedule will be assumed.
In the photograph above is a piece of phototherapy equipment that delivers UVB or PUVA light therapy for hands. The same piece of phototherapy equipment features semi-enclosed areas for treatment of the feet (not visible in the photograph above).
Below are photographs of a phototherapy booth, showing closed and open views. The booth holds a person for head to foot full body treatments of UVB or PUVA.
Before beginning PUVA treatments, one must undergo a thorough medical history and skin examination, as well as an eye examination. In addition, blood and urine tests may be required.
While topical PUVA is generally safe, certain side effects may occur. Strict adherence to the treatment schedule and guidelines, along with careful monitoring by our trained staff during therapy, will lead to maximum therapeutic results while minimizing risk.
PUVA has been in use in our offices for over 25 years, and it has been proven to be an extremely effective and generally safe treatment modality. Most patients receive extraordinary results with PUVA, and many obtain extended remission from their skin disease.
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