Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that appears as a rash with skin scales in various parts of the body. Treatment with UVB (ultraviolet B) light helps heal lesions by slowing their abnormally rapid growth. Typically, this involves going to a hospital or clinic three times a week for eight-ten weeks, but going to the hospital is inconvenient, time consuming and some patients have difficulty getting to the hospital that often due to work, family or finances.
Traditionally, doctors felt that UVB light should be given at a dermatology center for the best results. They believed that home treatment was not as effective and not as safe. The risk of using UVB light in general is premature aging, burns and skin cancer.
A new study on home UVB light treatment showed this belief is unfounded. Researchers at University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands evaluated 196 psoriasis patients with similar histories divided into 2 groups receiving UVB therapy either at home or clinic with the same type of UVB light treatment. Over a hundred of the patients were also followed for a year after therapy.
Safety and satisfaction with the results of the UVB light treatment were the same in both groups but the home group rated their experience more often as excellent and they rated the burden of receiving the therapy as significantly less when done at home.
A small Canadian study in 2006 also confirmed that home treatment for psoriasis with UVB was comparable to clinic treatment with few side effects when patient receive proper training. One quarter of the 24 participants felt that home treatment was superior to hospital treatment.
Home UVB therapy may be a valuable way to improve the quality of life for psoriasis sufferers and this recent study supports the benefit and safety of home use. Home UVB therapy can only be performed with a prescription from a doctor and some insurance companies do provide reimbursement for the cost of the home equipment.
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