Joint Phototherapy Guidelines Week 4: Risks of Narrow Band UVB

Last month, the American Academy of Dermatology and the National Psoriasis Foundation released guidelines of care for the management and treatment of psoriasis with phototherapy. Over the next few weeks, we’ll examine the recommendations and share information about the significance for your practice and patients.

Week 1: Treating with Narrow Band UVB

Week 2: Home Narrow Band UVB

Week 3: Combination Therapy with Narrow Band UVB

Week 4: Risks of Narrow Band UVB

Week 5: Broadband UVB Overview, Risks & Recommendations

Week 6: PUVA Overview, Risks & Recommendations

Week 7: Summary

Risks of Treating Patients with Narrow Band UVB Phototherapy:

There are not many risks to consider when treating a patient with NB-UVB.  It is considered safe and well tolerated, even during pregnancy and for those with compromised immune systems. However, there are recommendations to enhance safety during treatment. These may include:

  • Genital shielding
  • Use of UV blocking eye protection
  • Caution in prescribing NB-UVB for patients with history of melanoma, multiple nonmelanoma skin cancers, arsenic intake or exposure to ionizing radiation
  • All women of childbearing potential “should supplement with folate, 0.8 mg daily, to decrease the risk of neural tube defects resulting from unplanned pregnancies”
  • Caution when prescribing in patients with lupus who do not have a history of photosensitivity and are SS-A-negative

Additionally, because “almost all photosensitizing medications have an action spectrum in the UVA range, and because NB-UVB lamps emit negligible UVA, it is safe to deliver NB-UVB phototherapy in patients who are taking photosensitizing medications.”

Safe Solutions:

Phototherapy has a proven, decades-long safety record.  The list of potential side effects is much shorter than other treatment options.  The most common side effects are typically short term and are like a sunburn: redness, discomfort and dry, itchy skin.

Read how our patients feel about their treatments:

“Some of my worst and widest spread spots have practically been eliminated. The ceasing of scaling and itching has been a great relief. I realize that there is no cure for psoriasis and that it may, and probably will, re-appear, however, the results achieved will alleviate the need for other more expensive and risky approaches such as injections.” G.S. Mechanicsburg, PA

“This product is amazing. We tried methotrexate with no improvement then we were going to have to do Humera. The light therapy unit completely cleared up the psoriasis! No drugs!!” J.C. Bellingham, WA

“I am only in week 4 and the plaquing is less and my feet don’t look as red. I even have one tiny area where the skin already looks almost normal!!! Yipeee! Usually heat really flares things up and I was in Sacramento for 3 days this week and the temps were 106…my feet did pretty good which is miraculous! I took my lights with me and did a treatment so I could stay on schedule. Wish you guys were closer…I would come and say Hi!”  H.T. Reno, NV

Next week’s blog post will provide an overview, risks and recommendations for treating with Broadband UVB.