Psoralen and UVA Light Therapy (PUVA) for Psoriasis
When PUVA is used to treat psoriasis, short-term side effects include:
- Skin redness, headache, nausea, and itching.
- The spread of psoriasis to skin that was not affected before (Koebner's response).
- Nausea from the medicine.
The most significant potential long-term effect of PUVA treatment is an increased risk of some types of cancer.
- PUVA treatments with cyclosporine have shown a significant increase in the risk of Reference squamous cell cancer Opens New Window.Reference 2 A serious form of skin cancer, Reference melanoma Opens New Window, has also been reported.
- The male genitals are highly susceptible to the cancer-causing effects of both PUVA. Female genitals do not seem to be affected.
Other long-term side effects when using PUVA to treat psoriasis include:
- Premature skin damage associated with sun exposure.
- Discolored spots on the skin.
- Overgrowth of the scaly layer of skin caused by exposure to sunlight (actinic keratosis).
- Reference Cataracts Opens New Window. Cataracts may be avoided by wearing goggles during UVA treatments and sunglasses that block UV light when outdoors.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: January 9, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Amy McMichael, MD - Dermatology