Authors: Ma. Lorna F. Frez MD, Kathleen May V. Eusebio-Alpapara MD, Georgina C. Pastorfide MD, Rochelle L. Castillo MD, Giselle S. Tioleco MD Section of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, Philippine General Hospital




Introduction: Morphea, is a rare autoimmune disease presenting with fibrotic changes in the dermis and subcutis. It is a benign condition associated with significant atrophy and sclerosis leading to disfigurement, flexure contractures, and impaired function. Ultraviolet A1 and photochemotherapy are highly effective treatment options but are not readily available in the country. Narrowband ultraviolet B (NBUVB), on the other hand, is readily available, affordable, and safe to use.

Case summary: Three patients diagnosed with different variants of morphea (bilateral generalize morphea, unilateral generalized morphea, and circumscribed morphea). underwent 30 sessions of NBUVB. Treatment response was assessed using tightness and itch Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), Modified Skin Score (MSS), photographic comparison, ultrasonographic measurement, and histopathologic analysis. NBUVB treatment resulted to 14-60% decrease in the tightness and itch VAS. MSS was also reduced by 35-50%. The size, pigmentation, and erythema of the lesions also decreased. Ultrasonography showed an improvement in the thickness of lesions after treatment. Histopathologic study showed less packed collagen with increase in inter-bundle spaces.

Conclusion: Response to treatment was influenced by the age of the lesion and anatomical location. More chronic lesions tend to have less response. Lesions on the face exhibited the greatest improvement while lesions on the lower extremities had the least improvement. This is the first case series study in the country that uses NBUVB as treatment for morphea. The improvement of the sclerotic and atrophic lesions treated with narrowband UVB treatment may be an acceptable substitute for UVA1 and PUVA.


Morphea, Localized scleroderma, Narrowband-UVB, Phototherapy



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