Indian Journal of Dermatology
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 44-47

The use of narrow band ultraviolet light B in the prevention and treatment of postherpetic neuralgia (A pilot study)

Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Eman El-Nabarawy
Lecturer, Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, 1007 Korneich El-Nile, Cairo
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.77551

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Background: Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a common complication of herpes zoster that is frequently unresponsive to most of the available treatment modalities. Broad band ultraviolet B radiation (UVB) has a well-known anti-inflammatory effect. Moreover, it decreases neural damage and cutaneous nerve density. It was found that broad band UVB might have a role in the prevention and treatment of PHN. Aim: This study was carried out to evaluate the effect of narrow band UVB (nbUVB) in the treatment PHN. Patients and Methods: The study included 17 patients with distressing post herpetic neuralgia. Patients were evaluated using the Verbal Rating Scale (VRS). The patients received nbUVB sessions, three times a week, for a total of 15 sessions or until the pain disappeared. Patients were followed up for a period of 3 months after the end of therapy. Results: Using intention to treat analysis, more than 50% improvement was achieved in 6 (35.29%) and 8 (47.06%) patients, at the end of therapy and after 3 months follow up, respectively. An improvement less that 50% was achieved in 11 (64.71%) and 9 (52.94%) patients, at the end of therapy and after 3 months follow up, respectively. The pain severity assessed by the VRS significantly improved both at the end of sessions (P = 0.005) and after 3 months follow up (P = 0.005). Conclusion: nbUVB may be of beneficial use in the treatment of PHN. Limitation: Small number of patients and limited follow-up period.

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