How Effective is Levulan Pdt for Arms?

I had 2 previous treatments and my Doc wants me to prep my arms with Tazorac this time. Will that help make the treatment more effective?

Doctor Answers 4

PDT can be very effective for the arms

Thanks for your question – and the answer is that PDT can be very effective for the arms and clinical studies have supported this for years. And, in fact, we know that pre-treatment of the areas we are treating with a wide variety of topical agents can enhance the penetration of the Levulan, thus making the PDT treatments work even better. We have found that multiple treatments are needed on the extremities – so be prepared for this – but PDT on the arms can do wonders to remove the pre-cancerous skin lesions that develop there.

Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Photodynamic therapy (Blue light treatments)

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a very useful treatment for pre-cancerous lesions, or actinic keratoses caused by the sun.  Pretreatment with a retinoid such as tazorac will allow the levulan to penetrate deeper into the skin and will make the treatment more effective.  PDT can also be done sequentially with other pre-cancer treatments like 5-FU or imiquimod.

Donna Bilu Martin, MD
Aventura Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Pretreating the skin before photodynamic therapy

Pretreating with a retinoid, such as tazorac, will help to exfoliate the skin, thereby allowing better penetration of the levulan.  This will enhance the treatment outcome.  Other options to enhance the result include longer incubation times, occluding with saran wrap after applying levulan, or using other methods to exfoliate the skin manually or chemically.

Tazorac before PDT with Levulan

Preparing the area ahead of time with Tazorac should help tremendously in allowing the Levulan to penetrate better in that Tazorac is a retinoid which helps encourage turnover the skin.  This should greatly enhance the treatment outcome in an area with relatively thick skin. 

Ritu Saini, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.