Phototherapy vs. Biologics

Safety Comparison:
Phototherapy vs. Biologic Drugs

While biological drug therapies have become popular in the last few years, it is important to evaluate the safety of these medications. Many have had myriad adverse effects and deaths where the drug was listed as the primary suspected cause. In contrast, Daavlin’s phototherapy is an extremely safe and effective method of treatment. Even Oxsoralen, a drug used in conjunction with ultraviolet light to create PUVA, has an exemplary safety record.

The Safer Option

Phototherapy has a demonstrated history of safety and efficacy. The primary concern for most is whether phototherapy increases the risk of skin cancer. After many clinical studies and a century of use, there is no conclusive association between the two. In contrast, the fine print contained in the package labeling of the biologic drug products raises serious concerns. The potential associated risks are significant, including tuberculosislisteriosisliver failurehistoplasmosis, and other infectious diseases. Some risks are life threatening and difficult to resolve, such as lymphomas—cancers that attack the lymphatic system.

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!!
(Bellingham, WA)

Better Clearance Rates

Phototherapy leads other treatments in both effectiveness and speed of clearance. Narrowband UVB and PUVA (Psoralen + UVA) are safe, work extremely well, and are twice as fast at clearing patients with moderate to severe psoriasis.

Clearance Rates
  • PUVA (Psoralen + UVA): 90%1
  • Daavlin Narrowband UVB: 82%6
  • Remicade® (Infliximab): 80%5
  • Humira® (Adalimumab): 62%4
  • Enbrel® (Etanercept): 47%-49%3

Only Remicade® (Infliximab) approaches the clearance rates of phototherapy. Besides its high cost—nearly $20,000 per patient per year—Remicade has a lengthy list of side effects and typically takes several months of treatment to show results.

Faster Clearance Times

Phototherapy is more effective than competing biological drugs and it works nearly twice as fast. Of the biologics, only Enbrel® is approved for pediatric use in the treatment of psoriasis (Narrowband UVB is approved and has a long track record of safe pediatric use).

Median Time to Reach Clearance:
  • PUVA (Psoralen+UVA): 4 weeks2
  • Narrowband UVB: 5 weeks1
  • Remicade® (Infliximab): 8 weeks5
  • Humira® (Adalimumab): 8 weeks4
  • Enbrel® (Etanercept): 8 weeks3

When used with topical drugs, phototherapy combination treatments are even more effective, with reports of up to a 93% clearance rate with a Narrowband UVB + Etretinate combination. The bottom line: Daavlin phototherapy works faster and better for your patients.

New to Phototherapy?

For the treatment of psoriasis, vitiligo, and atopic dermatitis, phototherapy is the leader in both effectiveness and speed of clearance.


1 Palmer, et al. Photoadaptation during Narrowband Ultraviolet-B Therapy Is Independent of Skin Type: A Study of 352 Patients Journal of Investigative Dermatology (2006) 126, 1256–1263

2 Yones, et al. Randomized double-blind trial of the treatment of chronic plaque psoriasis: efficacy of psoralen-UV-A therapy vs narrowband UV-B therapy. Arch Dermatol. 2006 Jul;142(7):836-42.

3 ENBREL® Physician Package Insert. Available at:

4 HUMIRA® Prescribing Information. Available at:

5 REMICADE® Prescribing Information. Available at:

6 Suberythemogenic narrow-band UVB is markedly more effective than conventional UVB in treatment of psoriasis vulgaris, Walters, et al. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Volume 40, Issue 6, June 1999, Pages 893-900