Font Size
A
A
A
1

PUVA Therapy (Psoralen and Ultraviolet A Therapy)

PUVA Therapy Overview

PUVA is an acronym for psoralen and ultraviolet A. PUVA refers to the interaction of long wavelength ultraviolet light (320-400 nm) with a pharmaceutical molecule of plant origin, psoralen, producing a type of "photochemotherapy." PUVA is useful in treating a number of human diseases.

Psoralens are a family of plant chemicals that are able to absorb light in the ultraviolet A (UVA) spectrum (320 nm-400 nm). Once this absorption has occurred, these chemicals become activated and can react within the body in a number of ways. Without exposure to the correct wavelengths of light, psoralens are not biologically active. Although human tissues are relatively resistant to the effects of ultraviolet A light alone, this changes dramatically when psoralens are present. The most obvious change is a marked increase in ultraviolet A sensitivity manifested as burning of the skin (the equivalent of sunburn). It is hypothesized PUVA may work by inhibiting the production of the basic genetic material, DNA, and/or by damaging receptors of skin cells (epidermal cells) and particular immune cells (T-lymphocytes).

PUVA Therapy Types

Patient Comments

Two forms of the psoralen molecule are currently medically useful: 8-methoxypsoralen (8-MOP) and 5-methoxypsoralen. 8-MOP is the only psoralen available in the United States by prescription. 8-MOP can be given orally or applied topically. The use of topical of 8-MOP is uncommon because of the high likelihood of severe sunburns using this technique. The oral dose of 8-MOP that is prescribed for each patient depends upon the individual's weight.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/9/2014

Must Read Articles Related to PUVA Therapy

Lymphoma
Lymphoma Lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system. Symptoms include fevers, chills, itching, enlarged spleen, and swollen lymph nodes. Treatment depends upon the type ...learn more >>
Psoriasis
Psoriasis Psoriasis is a common and chronic skin disorder that affects 1%-2% of people in the U.S. Symptoms and signs include red, raised, scaly areas on the skin that ma...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about PUVA:

PUVA Therapy - Side Effects

Did you experience any side effects with PUVA therapy? Please explain.

PUVA Therapy - Types of Treatment

What type(s) of PUVA therapy have you received?





Medical Dictionary