Abstract: Solar urticaria is characterized by erythema and whealing immediately after exposure to ultraviolet radiation and/or visible light. We report about a patient with severe solar urticaria, who was highly sensitive to both UVA radiation and visible light with a Minimal Urticaria Dose (MUD) of 7 J/cm2 UVA. Management of this patient was extremely difficult because standard treatment with oral antihistamines, hardening with UVA, UVB, visible light or oral PUVA and even oral cyclosporin A were completely ineffective. We therefore decided to perform extracorporeal photochemotherapy (photopheresis, ECP). After nine treatment cycles with photopheresis the MUD increased from 7 J/cm2 UVA before treatment to 22 J/cm2 UVA. This hardening effect was associated with a significant decrease of the frequency and severity of whealing and the accompanying symptoms (pain, fatigue, pruritus).
Conclusion: Photopheresis might be of some benefit in selected patients with otherwise intractable solar urticaria.