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Journal of Allergy
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 121797, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/121797
Review Article

Modern Aspects of Phototherapy for Atopic Dermatitis

Department of Dermatology, University of Münster, 48149 Münster, Germany

Received 2 August 2011; Accepted 24 October 2011

Academic Editor: Jonathan Spergel

Copyright © 2012 Sonja Alexandra Grundmann and Stefan Beissert. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Phototherapy has still great importance in the treatment of atopic dermatitis, though costs, compliance, and long-term risks narrow its relevance. In spite of its long history, up to now, the therapeutic regimes are mostly empirical. Narrowband UVB und UVA1 are the most frequently applied regimens in atopic dermatitis with proven efficacy. However, even for these modalities randomized prospective and controlled studies are still pending. Advances in photoimmunology and molecular biology had demonstrated that phototherapy targets inflammatory cells, alters cytokine production, and has a significant antimicrobial effect within atopic skin. This paper summarizes the current literature on the different regimes of phototherapy and also discusses therapeutic modalities like photochemotherapy and extracorporeal photopheresis. These more complex regimes should be restricted to severe cases of atopic dermatitis, which are refractory to topical treatment.