Document Type : Review Article
Department of Dermatology & Venereology, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Udupi, Karnataka, India
Phototherapy is an essential and useful therapeutic procedure wherein the properties of ultraviolet light are used to cure certain dermatological conditions like psoriasis, vitiligo, and atopic dermatitis. This is usually an office-based procedure dependent on the accurate use of sophisticated phototherapy units. Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, phototherapy practices were shut down as they were considered as non-essential services. Here, we attempt to analyze how COVID-19 has affected phototherapy and seek to formulate a working guideline for safe phototherapy operations in these taxing circumstances. We used search engines like PubMed, Google Scholar, and Embase to retrieve articles and guidelines regarding phototherapy in dermatology, using the pertinent search terms. There was a paucity of data with only a couple of research letters and guidelines by the British Association of Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatology, as well as general guidelines issued by the Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists.
After a careful study of various modalities of phototherapy and viral inactivation, we collated a set of guiding instructions toward the appropriate utilization of phototherapy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Phototherapy is a viable option for selected patients even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. However, local and national guidelines have to be followed while selecting the patient and operating the phototherapy machine with adequate protective measures for both the patient and the healthcare worker. Home phototherapy units and PUVASOL are good options for those patients who are unable to attend the phototherapy center due to various reasons.