Atopic dermatitis: Recommendations for the use of phototherapy

  • Phototherapy is a second line treatment, after failure of first-line treatment (emollients, topical steroids, and topical calcineurin inhibitors). 
  • Phototherapy can be used as maintenance therapy in patients with chronic disease.
  • Phototherapy treatment of all forms should be under the guidance and ongoing supervision of a physician knowledgeable in phototherapy techniques.
  • The light modality chosen should be guided by factors such as availability, cost, patient skin type, skin cancer history, patient use of photosensitizing medications, etc.
  • The dosing and scheduling of light should be based upon minimal erythema dose (MED) and/or Fitzpatrick skin type.

Level of Evidence: II Strength of Recommendation: B

  • Home phototherapy under the direction of a physician may be considered for patients who are unable to receive phototherapy in an office setting.

Level of Evidence: III Strength of Recommendation: C

Navigate section 3 of the AD guideline: Phototherapy and systemic agents

Citation note

When referencing this guideline in a publication, please use the following citation: Sidbury R, Davis DM, Cohen DE, Cordoro KM, Berger TG, Bergman JN, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of atopic dermatitis: section 3. Management and treatment with phototherapy and systemic agents. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Aug;71(2):327-49. 


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