Survey of phototherapy practice by dermatologists in Australia

  • Huynh N
  • Sullivan J
  • Commens C
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A postal survey was sent to all dermatologists in Australia to determine current phototherapy practices. Questionnaires were returned by 158 (57%) of 277 dermatologists, of whom 112 (71%) provided phototherapy. Large variations existed in attitudes and practice, including indications, contraindications, dosage schedules, equipment maintenance, response to adverse events, and follow-up arrangements. Cumulative ultraviolet (UV) doses for psoralen and UVA (PUVA) were not calculated by 21%, while 30% did not calculate cumulative doses for UVB. Written informed consent was not obtained by 32%. Phototherapist dermatologists reported 25 patients developing melanoma following PUVA. Only 30% of Australian dermatologists organize regular follow up of patients after phototherapy. Australians have the highest rates of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers in the world, because of their ancestry and high solar exposure. This makes it inappropriate for Australian dermatologists to rely entirely on foreign safety data when assessing the risks and benefits of phototherapy in Australian patients. There is a need for standardized Australian guidelines that can be prospectively assessed to ensure phototherapy is used to maximize efficacy and minimize risks in Australian patients, given their unique ancestral mix and outdoor lifestyle.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Narrow-band UVB
  • PUVA
  • Photochemotherapy
  • Treatment

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  • Nghi T. Huynh

  • John R. Sullivan

  • Christopher A. Commens

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