Ultraviolet B Therapy for Various Forms of Psoriasis

Title: Narrow-band ultraviolet B phototherapy in patients with psoriasis: for which types of psoriasis is it more effective?
: Gokdemir G, et al.
Publication: J Dermatol. 2005 Jun;32(6):436-41.

Although it is becoming increasingly popular, treatment of psoriasis using narrow-band ultraviolet B light with Philips TL-01 lamp has not been evaluated for its effectiveness. The authors wanted to determine the effectiveness and safety of narrow-band ultraviolet B therapy for different clinical forms of psoriasis.

In this study, the authors enrolled 53 patients with psoriasis vulgaris, with skin types II to IV were enrolled. The patients were classified as having 4 types of psoriatic lesions:

  • Guttate: small, salmon-pink drop-like lesions with diameter of 1 to 10 mm. These lesions usually have fine scales.
  • Nummular: disc or coin-shaped lesions.
  • Plaque: scaly, circular to oval red patches. This is the most common type of psoriasis.
  • Mixed: multiple types of lesions.

Evaluation of the efficacy of treatment was performed by comparing their Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) before and after treatment.

The authors found that although all patients with the guttate form of psoriasis were cleared of their lesions, this result was not statistically significant. Although patients with nummular and plaque psoriasis received more dose of uv light and had more sessions, they did not have significant results.

Side effects were reported in five (11%) of the patients, although the authors did not elucidate specifically what happened.

The authors concluded that the efficacy of narrow-band ultraviolet therapy decreased as lesion size increased. Combination therapy (uv light and medications) may be more effective than uv light alone, especially for patients with large plaques.

Editor’s Note: Skin Type refers to Fitzpatrick Skin Type Classification:

Skin Type
Sensitivity to Sun or UV Light
Type I (very white or freckled)
Always burn
Type II (white)
Usually burn
Type III (white to olive)
Sometimes burn
Type IV (brown)
Rarely burn
Type V (dark brown)
Very rarely burn
Type VI (black)
Never burn

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