Use of 5-Aminolevulinic Acid and Daylight Photodynamic Therapy for the Treatment of Actinic Keratoses

Melissa L Shive, Brandon J Coakley, Dina F Bierman, Kathryn L Serowka Lane, Stine R Wiegell, Merete Haedersdal, Christopher B Zachary


BACKGROUND: Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is an effective modality for the treatment of actinic keratoses (AKs). The use of methyl aminolevulinate with daylight PDT (D-PDT) has quickly gained popularity internationally because of its tolerability and high levels of safety and efficacy. However, there is a paucity of studies on the use of D-PDT with 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA).

OBJECTIVE: To study the safety and efficacy of D-PDT in treating AKs on the face and scalp using ALA.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirty patients were recruited for this prospective, uncontrolled study. Patients were treated with topical ALA on either the scalp or face, incubated for 30 minutes, and then sat at home in a shady area for 2 hours. Weather conditions, lux measurements, and AK counts at 3 and 6 months were measured.

RESULTS: Daylight PDT led to a median of 75% reduction in AK count at 6 months, with no significant adverse effects. Ninety-six percentage of patients were either moderately or very satisfied with the treatment, and the median peak pain score during treatment was 1. There was no correlation between weather or average lux received during treatment and 6-month outcomes.

CONCLUSION: Daylight PDT with ALA is a safe and effective treatment modality for AKs on the head.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDermatologic Surgery
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)529-535
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Aminolevulinic Acid/administration & dosage
  • Facial Dermatoses/drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Keratosis, Actinic/drug therapy
  • Photochemotherapy/methods
  • Photosensitizing Agents/administration & dosage
  • Scalp Dermatoses/drug therapy
  • Sunlight
  • Treatment Outcome


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