Ann Rheum Dis 60:112-115 doi:10.1136/ard.60.2.112
  • Extended report

UVA-1 cold light treatment of SLE: a double blind, placebo controlled crossover trial

  1. M C A Poldermana,
  2. T W J Huizingab,
  3. S Le Cessiec,
  4. S Pavela
  1. aDepartment of Dermatology, Leiden University Medical Centre, The Netherlands, bDepartment of Rheumatology, Leiden University Medical Centre, cDepartment of Medical Statistics, Leiden University Medical Centre
  1. Dr M C A Polderman, Department of Dermatology, B1-Q, Leiden University Medical Centre, PB 9600, 2300 RC, Leiden, The Netherlandsdermatol{at}
  • Accepted 5 June 2000


OBJECTIVE Treatment of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) often implies strong drugs with possibly serious side effects. Thus there is a need for new immunosuppressive treatments. Long wave ultraviolet A (UVA-1) cold light therapy is an anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory treatment with a possible systemic effect and few side effects. In the current study low dose UVA-1 cold light treatment was tested to determine whether it reduces disease activity in SLE.

METHODS Eleven patients with SLE were treated with UVA-1 cold light treatment and a placebo light treatment in a double blind, placebo controlled, crossover study. In two consecutive 12 week periods the patients were treated in the first three weeks with UVA-1 and placebo treatment or vice versa. The primary variables were the SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) and SLE Activity Measure (SLAM).

RESULTS The mean SLAM and SLEDAI showed a significant decrease of 30.4% (p=0.0005) and 37.9% (p=0.016) respectively after three weeks of UVA-1 and a non-significant decline of 9.3% (p=0.43) and 12.2% (p=0.54) respectively after three weeks of placebo treatment. In this small trial the difference in reduction of the disease activity indices during UVA-1 compared with during placebo treatment failed to reach the conventional border of significance (p=0.07). The total score of quality of life measure RAND-36 did not improve significantly, but the subscore for vitality did improve.

CONCLUSION Low dose UVA-1 cold light treatment was strongly suggestive of lowering disease activity in this double blind placebo controlled study, and no side effects occurred.