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Derm News: 2007.2(3)

The treatment of severe atopic dermatitis in childhood with narrowband ultraviolet B phototherapy

Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 32 (1), 28-33
T. H. Clayton, S. M. Clark, D. Turner, V. Goulden


There is a lack of data regarding the use of narrowband ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) phototherapy in children with atopic dermatitis (AD). Many centres use this mode of treatment for children with AD; however, there have only been two previous studies observing the effect of NB-UVB in children with AD.


We undertook a retrospective review of children with severe eczema who had undergone NB-UVB consecutively in our department between 1999 and 2005.


All children with AD who had undergone NB-UVB consecutively in our department between 1999 and 2005 were identified from the phototherapy database. Their clinical notes were reviewed for information on age, sex, skin type, minimal erythema dose (MED), adjuvant therapy, previous therapy, adverse effects, number of exposures, cumulative dose, response to treatment and length of remission.


In total, 50 children (83%) completed more than 10 exposures of NB-UVB. Complete clearance or minimal residual activity was achieved in 20 children (40%). A good improvement was achieved in a further 10 children (23%), and a moderate improvement in 13 (26%). Children with MEDs > 390 mJ/cm2 were more likely to clear, and this was found to be statistically significant (P = 0.02). Overall, the treatment was well tolerated and the median length of remission was 3 months.


NB-UVB is an effective treatment for children with severe AD. Children with MEDs > 390 mJ/cm2 are more likely to clear. Further studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy of NB-UVB and long-term safety in treating children with severe AD.

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The Derm News service provided by the Editorial Consultants of Skin Therapy Letter© and its founding editor Dr. Stuart Maddin.