PUVA Therapy Side Effects

PUVA Therapy

Using plant agents discovered in the glory days of the Egyptian civilization but not harnessed until about 40 years ago, PUVA therapy has proven an effective severe eczema treatment and psoriasis conqueror. The process works by applying topically or taking orally psoralen, a plant agent that increases sensitivity to sunlight and then about a half hour to any hour later exposing the skin to UVA rays.

The obvious glaring potential side effect of PUVA therapy is the increases risk for skin cancer. The combination of excessive UVA exposure paired with the agent’s increase of an individual’s sensitivity to these rays can create the perfect danger zone for skin’s worst nightmare. Another side effect that can occur simply due to the increased light exposure is premature skin aging. Whether or not a few wrinkles here and there are worth it to relieve your nummular eczema or whatever condition caused you to seek out this remedy in the first place is for you to decide.

There are milder and shorter term side effects associated with the use of PUVA therapy that don’t include prematurely turning you into a Golden Girl. These less intense and shorter term afflictions include headaches, nausea, itching (not even kidding – fix your itching with more itching) and burns. Using the topical version of the medication used for PUVA will eliminate some of these side effects.

One surprising, (or not surprising depending on how you look at it), long term side effect of PUVA therapy is the risk of cataracts from the sun exposure portion of the treatment. While normally caused by misuse or not using goggles during the sun basking, this is a real risk that should not be taken lightly.
If your health care provider has recommended this treatment for you, it is likely because conventional methods and treatments have proven ineffective in use on your current condition. There are risks associated as with any medication or therapy, but your doctor will weigh these risks in accordance with your expected and potential response to treatment to determine if this is right for you.