What is the most relevent factor causing pain during ALA-PDT? A multi-center, open clinical pain score research trial of actinic keratosis, acne and condylomata acuminata.


Institute of Photomedicine, Shanghai Skin Disease Hospital, Tongji University, School of Medicine, Shanghai, China. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : To date, it has been reported that the intrinsic factors(lesions location, lesions area, disease tynpes) and extrinsic factors(fluence rate) contribute to the pain during 5-aminolevulinic acid photodynamic therapy (ALA-PDT). But there are few studies on pain during ALA-PDT and lack of sufficient clinical evidence related to the pain intensity.
OBJECTIVE : To investigate pain intensity and its relative factors during ALA-PDT and to provide clinical implication.
METHODS : The pain numeric rating scale (PNRS) score was used to evaluate the patients' pain intensity at different times during ALA-PDT irradiation from 0 to 10 min during treatment. Gender, age, lesions location, lesions area, ALA concentration and fluence rate were recored.
RESULTS : The trial enrolled 274 patients in total, including 118 acne patients (in face), 30 actinic keratosis(AK)patients(in face), 126 Condylomatata acuminate patients(in genitalia). The average pain score in PDT was highest in the patients with actinic keratosis(7.3 ± 0.7), and that of condylomata acuminata was the lowest (4.5 ± 1.1) (p < 0.05). The highest pain score in patients with AK, acne and condylomata acuminata was 8, 6 and 6 respectively which occurred at 4 min, 4 min and 6 min respectively. The pain score of males was higher compared with females in all of the three diseases (p < 0.05). The pain score of facial diseases (5.6 ± 1.2) was higher than that of the genitalia (4.5 ± 1.1) (p < 0.05). The lesions area was positively correlated with the pain score (p < 0.05). In facial diseases, the pain score of patients with high fluence rate (7.3 ± 0.7) was higher than patients with low fluence rate (5.1 ± 0.9) (p < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS : Intrinsic and extrinsic factors both correlate with pain during PDT. Intrinsic factors are difficult to change, so extrinsic factors are the key point to control. We can reduce the fluence rate and extend the treatment time, relieving pain intensity while still ensuring equivalent efficacy.


Acne,Actinic keratosis,Acuminate,Condylomata,Pain,Photodynamic therapy,

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