Adverse Effects of Topical Photodynamic Therapy

A Consensus Review and Approach to Management

S.H. Ibbotson; T.H. Wong; C.A. Morton; N.J. Collier; A. Haylett; K.E. McKenna; R. Mallipeddi; H. Moseley; L.E. Rhodes; D.C. Seukeran; K.A. Ward; M.F. Mohd Mustapa; L.S. Exton


The British Journal of Dermatology. 2019;180(4):715-729. 

In This Article


In summary, topical PDT is a widely used and evaluated therapy, which is generally very well tolerated by most patients. While pain and discomfort during irradiation are the main adverse effects during conventional PDT, adjustment of irradiation regimens, including the use of low-irradiance options such as dPDT, generally ensures that PDT can be administered effectively and safely. Other expected skin phototoxicity effects, notably erythema and oedema, resolve rapidly over a few days and longer-term adverse effects, such as pigmentary change, scarring or contact allergy, are uncommon. Thus, PDT has an important place in the management options of patients with superficial nonmelanoma skin cancer and dysplasia as highlighted in current guidelines.[1]