UVB PHOTOTHERAPY (Broad band and narrow band: TL01)

Phototherapy: means the treatment of skin diseases, by ultraviolet rays coming either from the sun or artificial sources. Many diseases spontaneously improve or disappear during the summer months. Solar radiation reaching the earth contains 48% of visible light, 42% of infrared and 6% of ultraviolet rays, mainly UVA's & UVB's. The UVA's are 10 to 100 times more than the UVB's. This is mainly due to seasonal variations, the condition of the ozone layer, the latitude, the altitude, the clouds, the fog, the pollution and so on. The new UVB lamps TL01 emitting a narrow band UVB’s (311nm) are more effective in treating psoriasis and vitiligo although they invelve a higher risk of developing side effects like erythema and itching..

Skin Phototypes:


   Type I   Always burn, never tan    Type IV   Rarely burn,always tan
   Type II   Always burn, sometimes tan    Type V   Brown (Asians)
   Type III   Sometimes burn, always tan    Type IV   Black (Africans)


Some diseases that would benefit from UVB phototherapy:
Psoriasis vulgaris, vitiligo, eczema, folliculitis, furunculosis, pityriasis rosea, pityriasis lichenoïdes chronica, parapsoriasis en plaques, mycosis fungoides, idiopathic pruritus, pruritus of renal failure, acne. UVB phototherapy could also be combined with other treatment modalities like: anthralin, steroid creams, calcipotriol, PUVA, retinoid, methotrexate and cyclosporin when indicated to control more severe types of psoriasis.

Side effects of sunlight and UVB rays:
On the short run: redness, itching, dryness of the skin and inflammation of the cornea.
On the long run: the risk of photoaging, skin cancers and cataracts becomes elevated specially in skin types I & II. However, therapeutically effective doses of UVB radiation, given under careful supervision to treat psoriasis, are relatively safe and very effective.

The combination treatment of Tar & UVB:
The patient applies a tar preparation twice a day, followed by an oil bath to remove the excess of the tar. Following the bath the patient is exposed to a UVB dose that causes a mild redness to the skin. Recently, it was discovered that a lower dosage of UVB rays, not enough to cause redness to the skin, are also effective to clear psoriasis. This would be the ideal treatment for persons of skin type I or II. The frequency of UVB exposures varies from 3 to 5 times per week. Psoriasis clears within 6 to 8 weeks in 80% of the treated patients. If the broad band and narrow band UVB rays fail to clear psoriasis, then, PUVA (Psoralen and UltraViolet rays type A) should be considered.

Ocular protection: Ultraviolet blocking glasses should be worn whenever exposure to ultraviolet radiation is anticipated in order to prevent acute inflammation of the eyes on the short run and cataracts on the long run. Patients are also advised to wear their own goggles during their phototherapy sessions to avoid catching or transmitting any diseases.

Contraindications: Phototherapy should be avoided in patients who are sensitive to the sun. Also patients with a previous history of skin cancer or those who have been treated with radiotherapy are preferably excluded from this kind of therapy.

Caution: Certain medications like thiazides, certain antibiotics like tetracyclines and also other medications like the antidepressants could cause a sunburn-like reaction when exposed to a normally harmless amount of UVB or sunlight. The use of perfume or perfumed products could also initiate such a reaction. They should be avoided during the treatments. TL01 treatments are given once every two or more days, two to three times a week.



Financed by Antranik Benohanian MD, FRCPC - all rights reserved © 2000

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