Rate of acute adverse events for narrow-band UVB and Psoralen-UVA phototherapy


Corresponding author:
Dr. Julie Martin
Department of Dermatology
University Hospital of Wales
Glamorgan House
Heath Park
Cardiff CF14 4XN
Tel: +44 29 2074 7747
Fax: +44 29 2074 5561
e-mail: jamartin@doctors.org.uk


Background: Ultraviolet (UV) radiation therapies are commonly used to treat a wide range of dermatological conditions. However, no published data exist regarding the rate of acute adverse events occurring within the different UV therapy modalities.

Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the rate of acute adverse events experienced by patients receiving narrow-band UVB or photochemotherapy in 3 neighboring dermatology units.

Method: Standardized adverse event forms from all 3 units were retrospectively analysed over a 12-month period between October 2003 and September 2004. The treatments included were narrow-band UVB and systemic, bath and hand/foot PUVA.

Results: A total of 8784 treatments were given over the study period. The total number of acute adverse events recorded for all phototherapy treatments was 70 (0.8%). The rates of acute adverse events for each treatment modality were 0.6% for narrow-band UVB, 1.3% for systemic PUVA, 1.3% for bath PUVA and 0.8% for hand/foot PUVA. Adverse events were due to patient non-compliance with standard operating procedures in 15 cases (21%) and operator error in 2 (3%). Only 4 of the acute adverse events were considered to be severe, accounting for 0.05% of all treatments.

Conclusions: The rates of acute adverse events with phototherapy in this analysis were low, in particular the rate of severe adverse events. The highest rate was seen with both systemic and bath PUVA. The number of adverse events resulting from operator error was low. These published rates for adverse events associated with narrow-band UVB and PUVA may help other units when analyzing their own rate of adverse events.