According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, phototherapy is “the safest treatment for psoriasis” because it has fewer side effects than biologics. An NPF article reports, “…biologics can increase the chance of infections and require monitoring for other adverse effects…the risks associated with phototherapy are fairly minor…”1
Biologics have a risk of adverse side effects because they work by suppressing the patient’s immune system, making the patient more vulnerable to infections. Cases of tuberculosis, pneumonia, and brain infection have been documented.2
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the American Academy of Dermatology has issued guidance recommending that doctors exercise caution prescribing biologics due to the risk of immunosuppression.3
“Light therapy is considered to be the safest way to treat psoriasis because you’re treating from the outside in.”-Dr. Joel Gelfand, Director of the Psoriasis and Phototherapy Treatment Center at the University of Pennsylvania1
“…in treating vitiligo, phototherapy remains standard of care because of its proven efficacy and favorable side effect profile.”-Smith, MP, et al. “Home Phototherapy for Patients with Vitiligo: Challenges and Solutions.” Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology. 2019.
According to an article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, phototherapy is as effective or more effective than other treatments:4
“Psoriasis Area and Severity Index 75 scores after [phototherapy] thrice weekly for 6 to 12 weeks are 70% and 80%, respectively. These outcomes are comparable or superior to biologics (infliximab and adalimumab: 80%; etanercept: 30-60%), whereas outcomes for traditional systemic medications are 30% (acitretin), 60% (methotrexate) and 70% (cyclosporine).”-Lim, Henry W., et al. “Phototherapy in dermatology: A call to action.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2015.
“Narrow-band ultra-violet light B…is currently the most successful treatment for patients with vitiligo.”-UMass Medical School Vitiligo Clinic and Research Center. “Treatments.”
Home UV Units are a one-time cost that provide years of treatment, saving patients thousands of dollars in co-pays. Patients are seeing surprise out-of-pocket costs with drugs at the pharmacy because of new co-pay accumulator policies. Some insurance companies no longer count prescription drug coupons toward deductibles, increasing patients’ out-of-pocket costs by thousands of dollars.5 Home UV units can cost the payer 90+% less than biologic treatments.6
National Biological Corporation was featured by Yahoo Finance for helping patients save money on treatment.
You can estimate how much you could save with phototherapy with our calculator.
“A cost-analysis study published in 2010 reported the annual cost of biologics…ranged from $23,538 to $27,557… Newer agents such asnustekinumab (90 mg) and apremilast (30 mg twice daily) are estimated to have an annual cost of $53,884 and $22,000 respectively.”– Lim, Henry W., et al. “Phototherapy in dermatology: A call to action.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2015.
“A 2013 economic analysis of thrive weekly institution-based [phototherapy] that purchasing a [home phototherapy] device was a more cost-effective option for patients living 20 miles or more from a [phototherapy clinic], even if the home device was not covered by insurance.”-Smith, MP, et al. “Home Phototherapy for Patients with Vitiligo: Challenges and Solutions.” Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology. 2019.