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UVB therapy (broadband and narrowband)

Herbert Hönigsmann, MD
Section Editor
Craig A Elmets, MD
Deputy Editor
Rosamaria Corona, MD, DSc


Broadband ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation (280 to 320 nm), with or without topical tar, has been used for the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis for decades. In the early 1980s, the observation that wavelengths around 311 nm were more effective than broad-spectrum UVB in clearing psoriasis led to a major advancement in phototherapy with the development of fluorescent lamps emitting selective UVB spectra in the range of 311 to 313 nm (narrowband UVB) [1,2].

Narrowband UVB has since become the type of phototherapy most frequently used for the treatment of psoriasis and a wide range of skin diseases, including atopic dermatitis, vitiligo, early stages of mycosis fungoides, and pruritic disorders (table 1) [3-5].

This topic will discuss the mechanism of action, treatment protocols, indications, and adverse effects of UVB therapy. PUVA therapy, UVA-1 therapy, and targeted phototherapy are discussed separately. The use of UVB for the treatment of specific skin conditions are discussed in the dedicated topics.

(See "Psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA) photochemotherapy".)

(See "UVA1 phototherapy".)

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Feb 08, 2017.
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