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Therapeutic options for photoallergy
Department of Dermatology, University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland
In brief, therapy of photoallergic diseases consists of the avoidance of the causative substance and the avoidance of sun exposure. Thus, the first step of therapy of photoallergy consists in an accurate diagnosis by identifying the culprit agent so that it can be avoided. Also, avoidance of sunlight is important, by using sunscreens and /or wearing hat and dress with long sleeves, made of UV-absorbing textiles. If the photoallergic reaction has already occurred, symptomatic treatment using topical steroids or systemic antihistamines can be used. Also topical calcineurin inhibitors (pimecrolimus, tacrolimus) have been used successfully. On the other hand, topical antihistamines should be avoided as they may cause photoallergic reactions themselves. Desensitization is rarely successful but can be tried in some cases of very mandatory drugs.
In chronic photosensitive disorders that may result in actinic dermatitis, therapy becomes more challenging. Here, sometimes immunosuppressive agents such as cyclosporine A or azathioprine can be tried. There are also reports that UVB or PUVA-therapy might be useful.
Treatment options for solar urticaria include non-sedating antihistamines such as fexofenadine and cetirizine; other options include absorbent sunscreens, restriction of UV radiation at the relevant wavelength, maintenance of the non-responsive state with natural or artificial light exposure and, in very rare cases, plasmapheresis.
© Peter Schmid-Grendelmeier (text) and Radoslaw Spiewak (source code).
This page is part of the website photopatch.eu (contact).
Document created: 7 September 2009, last updated: 8 September 2009.