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Light Exposure in a Subset of Patients With Lupus Erythematosus

Douglas E. Moul, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1992;152(9):1933. doi:10.1001/archinte.1992.00400210149032.
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To the Editor.— Ultraviolet (UV) light exposure is well known as a cause of flares of lupus erythematosus, and it is good practice to encourage patients with lupus to avoid exposure to sunlight.1 Some patients with lupus may also coincidentally suffer from winter depression (winter seasonal affective disorder2), a condition that appears to improve when patients receive bright, UV-free light.3 Thus, such patients may have motivation both to seek and to avoid sunlight. The following case describes a successful resolution of this conflict with the use of UV-free light box therapy.

Report of a Case.—  A 45-year-old white woman presented to our psychiatric research clinic in December 1990, with a history of many years of recurrent winter depressions (beginning in October and remitting in May). Her depressive symptoms were sad mood, anhedonia, mild psychomotor retardation, impaired concentration, increased self-criticism, carbohydrate craving with weight gain, decreased energy, and


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