Treating psoriasis patients with ultraviolet B (UVB) at home is as effective and as safe as conventional hospital based phototherapy, a new study has found.
The findings also showed that patients find home UVB therapy less of a burden and are more satisfied with treatment.
Psoriasis is a common, chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes significant disability to sufferers and their families.
Most dermatologists believe that home phototherapy is inferior to hospital treatment and that it carries more risks, despite there being no evidence to support this.
So, a team of researchers in the Netherlands compared the safety and effectiveness of home phototherapy with standard hospital based phototherapy.
They identified 196 patients with psoriasis from 14 hospital dermatology departments. Patients were randomised to receive either home UVB phototherapy or hospital based phototherapy.
The home group used a phototherapy unit in their homes, while the hospital group received the treatment at their local hospital.
Both treatment at home and at the hospital were applied according to standard routine practice. Disease severity after treatment was measured using recognised scoring scales. Side effects and total cumulative dose of UVB were also recorded.
Both groups completed questionnaires to assess the burden of treatment, quality of life and patient satisfaction for the two treatment settings.
The results showed that home phototherapy is equally safe and equally effective as outpatient phototherapy, both clinically and in terms of quality of life.
Researchers also found that patients treated at home reported a significantly lower burden of treatment and greater satisfaction with treatment. And the majority of patients said they would prefer home UVB therapy to hospital-based therapy in the future.
The study appears on bmj.com.