Photodynamic therapy with methylaminolevulinate 80 mg/g without occlusion improves acne vulgaris

J Drugs Dermatol. 2010 Nov;9(11):1347-52.


Background: Photodynamic therapy (PDT) with methylaminolevulinate (MAL) under occlusion is effective for the treatment of acne vulgaris but is associated with significant phototoxic side effects.

Objective: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of topical MAL with or without occlusion followed by red light exposure in patients with facial acne vulgaris.

Patients/methods: Forty-four patients with facial acne vulgaris were randomized to receive four MAL applications (80 mg/g) at two-week intervals with occlusion on either the right or left side followed 90 minutes later by either 25 or 37 J/cm2 of red light.

Results: At 18 weeks after the first MAL-PDT treatment, the percentage of inflammatory lesions was reduced by a median of 31.7, 59.4, 58.1 and 55.8 percent for patients randomized to 25 J/cm2 without occlusion, 25 J/cm2 with occlusion, 37 J/cm2 without occlusion and 37 J/cm2 with occlusion respectively. MAL-PDT was, in general, well tolerated and only two patients discontinued their participation due to adverse events.

Conclusion: PDT with MAL at 80 mg/g without occlusion reduces the number of inflammatory lesions in patients with facial acne vulgaris.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Acne Vulgaris / pathology
  • Aminolevulinic Acid / adverse effects
  • Aminolevulinic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Aminolevulinic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Pain Measurement
  • Photochemotherapy / adverse effects
  • Photochemotherapy / methods*
  • Photosensitizing Agents / adverse effects
  • Photosensitizing Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Single-Blind Method


  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • methyl 5-aminolevulinate
  • Aminolevulinic Acid