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Cutaneous lupus erythematosus—treatment with pulsed dye laser



Because of its vascular selectivity, the flashlamp-pumped pulsed dye laser (585 nm) is efficacious in the treatment of vascular lesions and is successfully used for the treatment of port-wine stains and haemangiomas in children. Based on the encouraging results with these cutaneous vascular disorders, the cutaneous lesions of patients with lupus erythematosus (LE) have now also been treated with the pulsed dye laser. Cutaneous lesions in lupus erythematosus are often difficult to treat with readily available local therapeutic methods. We report here on a group of 12 patients whose LE lesions were treated with the pulsed dye laser. In 10 patients, the LE was limited to the skin, while two patients had systemic LE (SLE). Even in the two patients with SLE, a significant improvement of skin lesions was achieved. After a mean number of 51 laser sessions, a median clearance rate of 70% was attained for nine patients. In one case, the laser treatment failed to clear the lesions. Two patients did not show any visible improvement of the lesions, but pain and itching were significantly reduced. There were few side-effects. No prolonged laser-induced scarring occurred and in only two patients was hyperpigmentation seen, which had resolved completely after 4 and 5 months, respectively. During a median follow-up of 7 months (range: 3–32 months), only one patient (after a complete clearance of the skin lesions) had a small relapse. In summary, the pulsed dye laser is an effective therapy for the treatment of superficial skin lesions in LE.