Refractory Pityriasis Versicolor Treated With Narrow-Band UV-B Phototherapy

Profuse tinea (or pityriasis) versicolor.
Profuse tinea (or pityriasis) versicolor.
Narrow-band UV-B phototherapy resulted in statistically significant reductions in clinical scores from weeks 4 through 16.

Narrowband ultraviolet B (UV-B) phototherapy is a safe, effective alternative treatment in patients with extensive and recurrent pityriasis versicolor (PV) who are unresponsive to traditional therapies, according to results of a recent prospective study published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment.

The study, which was conducted between July 2014 and November 2016, enrolled 38 patients (26 men; mean age, 30.63)  with a clinical diagnosis of extensive, chronic PV, characterized as >4 relapsing PV episodes in 12 months, who had disseminated involvement of >3 regions of the body (neck, trunk, upper and lower limbs, armpits, groin area). Of these, 24 patients had received prior systemic and topical antifungal therapy; 14 participants had received only topical treatment.

Narrowband UV-B phototherapy was administered 3 times per week. Patients’ response to therapy was assessed based on the severity of pruritus, erythema/hyperpigmentation, scaling, and mycologic examinations at 0, 4, 8, 12, and 16 weeks. Patients were asked to rate the intensity of pruritus on a visual analogue scale between 0 (absent) and 3 (extremely severe).

Early discontinuation (after 5 to 10 treatments) was reported in 8 patients. Of the remaining 30 patients, 20 (66.7%) attained excellent results and 4 (14%) experienced mild residual disease. Statistically significant decreases from pretreatment clinical scores at weeks 4, 8, 12, and 16 were reported (P =.001 and P <.01).

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The investigators concluded that the use of narrowband UV-B phototherapy should be considered in patients with PV who are unresponsive to conventional therapy and are not candidates for systemic antifungal therapy because of their current medications and/or comorbidities.


Balevi A, Üstüner P, A Kakşi S, Özdemir M. Narrow band UV-B phototherapy; an effective and reliable treatment alternative for extensive and recurrent pityriasis versicolor [published online October 6, 2017]. J Dermatolog Treat. doi:10.1080/09546634.2017.1364690