Oxford University Press (OUP), Rheumatology, 8(53), p. 1422-1430
OBJECTIVE: Cutaneous telangiectases are a characteristic and psychologically distressing feature of SSc. Our aim was to assess the efficacy of two light-based treatments: pulsed dye laser (PDL) and intense pulsed light (IPL). METHODS: Nineteen patients with facial or upper limb telangiectases underwent three treatments with PDL and IPL (randomly assigned to left- and right-sided lesions). Outcome measures were clinical photography (assessed by two clinicians), dermoscopy (assessed by two observers), laser Doppler imaging (LDI) and observer and patient opinion, including patient self-assessment psychological questionnaires [Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Adapted Satisfaction with Appearance Scale (ASWAP)]. RESULTS: Comparison between 16-week follow-up and baseline photography scores (from -2 to +2 on a Likert scale, with >0 being improvement) were a mean score for PDL of 1.7 (95% CI 1.4, 2.0) and for IPL 1.4 (0.9, 1.8), with a mean difference between PDL and IPL of -0.3 (-0.5, -0.1) (P = 0.01). Dermoscopy scores also improved with both therapies: PDL 1.3 (1.1, 1.5) and IPL 0.8 (0.5, 1.1), again greater with PDL (P = 0.01). LDI showed decreases in blood flow at 16 weeks, indicating a response to both therapies. All patients reported benefit from treatment (more preferred PDL at 16 weeks). Psychological questionnaires also indicated improvement after therapy with mean change in ASWAP of -13.9 (95% CI -20.5, -7.4). No side effects were reported for IPL; PDL caused transient bruising in most cases. CONCLUSION: Both PDL and IPL are effective treatments for SSc-related telangiectases. Outcome measures indicate that PDL has better outcomes in terms of appearance, although IPL had fewer side effects.