Greater Accessibility For Home Based Phototherapy
One of the things I really dislike about treatments for advanced psoriasis is the commute. Who has the time commuting back and forth to a doctor? I went a few times a week back and forth to doctors for years.
I’m not sure how long light treatments have been around. I do know it was the first psoriasis treatment that I received back in the ’60s. Today, I would like to discuss phototherapy as a treatment option and why we need more accessibility to home-based devices.
Phototherapy and psoriasis
Your psoriasis type and current treatment plan are two important things to consider before choosing phototherapy as a treatment option. Patients with erythroderma and pustular psoriasis should avoid phototherapy as increased ultraviolet exposure could worsen the symptoms.
As for your current treatment, your doctor will advise you if you are suitable for phototherapy. If you are taking medications that increase your sensitivity to sunlight or which have anti-inflammatory effects will present a conflict. This includes topical treatment.
How helpful is phototherapy?
Effective results depend very heavily on the consistency of each session. Doctors scheduled appointments anywhere between 3 to 5 weekly sessions depending on your skin condition. You can see major improvements after 2 to 4 months on average.
Traveling to the clinic or doctor now is an inconvenience for many of us. Under these uncertain times and possibly unsafe options, many of us choose not to go into a doctor's office.
We look at home phototherapy devices readily available on the market. Patients can choose from smaller units that target specific areas of the body. You can get machines for the scalp, hands feet, and entire body.
Is phototherapy unsafe?
Classified as an FDA regulated procedure, every purchase of a phototherapy device requires a prescription from your doctor. Yet, it does not necessarily mean that this is unsafe to use. The most common form of this treatment is narrow-band UVB (NB-UVB).
This can slow the growth of skin cells in the targeted area and produce faster results for less. Use a smaller range of UV light emitted requiring fewer treatments too. The initial cost may be a huge deterrent and can cost anywhere between $600 to $2,000. Talk to your insurance company, they might pay for one.
Facts about phototherapy
Did you know that damp skin absorbs the light better? It's best to take a shower before your treatment. I bet you didn't know that did you? I didn't either until I started to investigate home-based phototherapy.
Many people have said they are seriously thinking about going back to this treatment. I have been on biologics for 20 years and they have been my saving grace for years. The side effects and the pandemic have me wishing for a simpler life.
If you have been using these devices at home, what has your experience been? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
Where on your body does psoriasis bother you the most?