Aims of treatment

Treatments can be divided into prophylactic and suppressive. Prophylactic measures include sunlight avoidance and "desensitisation" prophylactic phototherapy. Sunlight avoidance measures include advice on behaviour (for example, avoiding outdoor exposure between 10 am and 3 pm), clothing (long sleeves and hat), topical broad-spectrum sunscreens, and environmental measures (such as applying UV-absorbing "museum film" to house and car windows for those severely sensitive to UV wavelengths). The aim of these measures is to reduce the frequency of and severity of the eruption.

The aim of prophylactic phototherapy is to increase the duration of sunlight exposure required to elicit PLE, and so improve quality of life for those severely affected patients who cannot carry out normal activities (for example putting out washing during day time) because very limited sunlight exposure triggers the eruption. Suppressive treatment should alleviate symptoms (particularly itch), and speed resolution of PLE when it occurs.

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