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At-home UVB Psoriasis Treatments Found Effective

People suffering from psoriasis can now experience effective UVB treatments in their homes, as opposed to always going to a hospital.

Home-based ultraviolet B (UVB) therapy for psoriasis is as effective and safe as outpatient phototherapy at a hospital, Dutch researchers report.

Receiving UVB treatment at a hospital can be difficult for patients with the chronic inflammatory skin condition because a course of treatment typically involves going to the hospital three times a week for eight to 10 weeks. In addition, many dermatologists believe home UVB treatment is inferior to, and carries more risks, than hospital treatment, even though there's no evidence of that, the study authors noted.

The researchers from the University Medical Center Utrecht looked at 196 psoriasis patients who were randomly selected to use a UVB unit at home or to receive the treatment at a hospital. Both groups received the phototherapy according to standard practice. Disease severity, side effects and total cumulative dose of UVB were recorded by the researchers, and the patients completed questionnaires about the burden of treatment, quality of life and satisfaction with the treatment.

The study found that home and hospital phototherapy were equally safe and effective, but patients treated at home reported a significantly lower burden of treatment and greater satisfaction with treatment. Most patients said they would prefer home treatment over hospital treatment in the future.

The findings, published online in the BMJ, show that phototherapy in the home is a good alternative to hospital treatment and current guidelines should be updated to reflect this, the study authors concluded.

More information

The National Psoriasis Foundation has more about psoriasis treatment.

HealthDay News, May 7, 2009

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