Client Services's Blog

  • UVB Home Systems Chat

  • Join Date Feb 2003 Posts 6

    UVB Home Systems

    Does anyone know of some good UVB system for home? I don't have much psoriasis coverage only on the scalp, ears, elbows, and a few spots on my stomach. So I don't think I need a big 6 foot unit at this time. Are there some good hand held or smaller units that people have used before? I see some online but I don't know if they are any good. Also should I be using UVB narrowband or just the regular broadband? I hear narrowband is better but is it as effective?

    Is getting a UVB system worth it?

    Thanks

    Brian

  • 06-06-2003 06:04 PM #2
    Join Date Feb 2003 Posts 360
    The remission time of clearing caused by narrow band is reportedly much longer than that of broad band. Of course your mileage may vary - some people just don't respond to UVB at all.

    For this reason alone, you should try phototherapy in a clinic or doctor's office before acquiring a home unit - just to make sure you're not wasting your time (and money if your insurance company won't cover the cost). UVB units fall under the category of prescription-only durable medical equipment. Most derms will (correctly IMHO) not write a prescription for a home unit until they know that your psorasis responds to the therapy and your personal and family history for skin cancer is "acceptable".

    Regarding the size of the unit, most units I've seen use 6' or 4' bulbs. Almost all modern units now have timers, and many also electronics that allow only as many treatments as your doctor prescribes until he or she resets some portable "key" that plugs into your unit. As someone who has used home broadband UVB for 8 years I can guess that you won't like having to turn a small unit on while pointing to one part of the body, then having to repeat that several times for other parts. It's much more practical to get a unit that allows you to have just one sitting, during which you can cover the parts of your body you don't want to expose to the light. In fact, if you have coverage on all sides like I do, even a flat panel (or V shaped unit) will force you to turn around at least once and repeat the treatment.

    Make sure you are seeing a good derm who is familiar with UVB and the risks involved, and can instruct you on its use (and provide you with at least biannual checkups for skin cancer).

    Finally, regarding brands, the one's I'm most familiar with and I know have been around for awhile are (in no particular order) National Biological, Daavlin, Phototherapeutix, and the Richmond Light Company (Jordan Light).

    PS - I edited my post and added the links to the URLs of the companies even though I'm a little uncomfortable linking to commercial websites from the forum. I happen to use a Jordan Light, but these are all reputable companies, and there are others as well that I haven't listed. The trick is to find a unit that is affordable and convenient taking size, weight, storage, and mobility into consideration.

    EdR
    <!-- edit note --> <!-- --> Last edited by Edr; 06-06-2003 at 10:55 PM. <!-- / edit note -->

  • 06-06-2003 07:03 PM #3
    Join Date Feb 2003 Location Raleigh, NC Posts 2,406

    Post Home UVB

    Hi Brian,

    I've been using UVB for 20+ years, and had a home unit for about 10. Broad band b manufactured by National Biologic Corp ( Mike??? link here please ).

    Edr is right on all counts about making sure this can work for you. Then your derm can help lead the way in making the best choice of band and unit to suit your needs.

    My unit is a 6' flat panel, it can only be operated by inserting a key and then being programmed. Because I have small children, I keep the unit in my bedroom, and I store the key on top of it.

    My unit is programmed by a numeric code which my dr provides me. The maximum # of doses is 350. It only counts each time you tuirn the machine on and off. So, if you do front, then re-program and do back, it only counts as one unit of treatement.

    My box will flash a message when it is time to cal;l the Dr, but still allow treatments until they all run out. I seem to have about 10 left when I first see the message.

    Hope that helps. Good luck.

    Regards,

    PJ Leary
    PJ Leary
    Founder of NCPEAS
    North Carolina Psoriasis Education, Advocacy & Support

  • 06-06-2003 10:09 PM #4
    Join Date Feb 2003 Location New Jersey Posts 14,566
    Hi Brian,

    Here's a couple of links:

    1) I used several search engines, but couldn't find a website for National Biologic Corp (the company that makes PJ's UVB unit). I did find a reference to it in the following article: http://dermatology.cdlib.org/DOJvol6...s/feldman.html I'm not sure how old the article is. (It was copyrighted in 2000.) It's a very long article, which discusses the various treatments that are available for p. The reference to National Biologic Corporation appears about halfway through the discussion of UVB treatments.

    2) Here's a link to the Q&A section of a website of a company that sells UVB units. It includes a discussion of the differences between narrowband uvb and broadband uvb. http://www.solarcsystems.com/faq.html

    Hope this helps.

    Mike

  • 06-06-2003 10:49 PM #5
    Join Date Feb 2003 Posts 360
    Mike,

    I edited my original post and added the links.

    Regards,

    EdR

  • 06-07-2003 01:51 AM #6
    Join Date Feb 2003 Posts 360
    I forgot to mention that a listing of psoriasis related products and companies, including company URLs, is provided in the Psoriasis Foundation's Treatment Guide (a members-only feature). It includes a section devoted to home phototherapy equipment and manufacturers.

    EdR

  • 06-07-2003 12:59 PM #7
    Join Date Jun 2003 Posts 20

    Trouble getting prescription

    Did anyone have trouble getting a prescription? I have been unable to get a Dr. to give me one, even though I responded well to UVA/Psoralen treatment in the past. They say that it is too dangerous. No one in my family has had skin cancer as I live north of the 50th parallel. I live 500 miles north of the closest clinic-based program. My health insurance provider is willing to pay the cost because it will be cheaper than prescriptions or paying for me to have treatment in hospital.

    I would appreciate hearing about how to talk the Dr. into writing the prescription.

  • 06-08-2003 09:12 AM #8
    Join Date Feb 2003 Posts 6
    I've heard Narrowband has very little to do with skin cancer, as oppossed to broadband that can cause skin cancer. Any thoughts on this?

  • 06-08-2003 06:35 PM #9
    Join Date Feb 2003 Posts 360
    Originally posted by bpyatt
    I've heard Narrowband has very little to do with skin cancer, as oppossed to broadband that can cause skin cancer. Any thoughts on this?
    I'm wondering if you're confusing broad-band UVB with PUVA? Narrow-band is often compared to PUVA as a safer and nearly-as-effective alternative. PUVA treatment has been associated with a risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer.

    I think broad-band is considered relatively safe compared to other treatments, and narrow-band is probably just as safe.

    EdR
    <!-- edit note --> <!-- --> Last edited by Edr; 06-08-2003 at 07:08 PM. <!-- / edit note -->

  • 06-08-2003 06:45 PM #10
    Join Date Feb 2003 Location Raleigh, NC Posts 2,406

    Arrow Narrow band

    Hi all,

    My Dr was happy to write a script for a NB unit, even though I have an older BB already. I do not understand your Dr's hesitation, Dawn. Your situation is classic for a home unit. Perhaps you should get another opinion.

    Once things have completely settled down for me physically, I am going to finish seeing about the new box. My insurance will pay for it at 80%.

    Regards,

    PJ Leary
    PJ Leary
    Founder of NCPEAS
    North Carolina Psoriasis Education, Advocacy & Support

  • 06-09-2003 05:44 PM #11
    Join Date Feb 2003 Posts 6
    I thought i read somewhere that the small scale that narrow band uses doesn't fall in the range of the level that would cause skin cancer. I could be wrong I can't find the exact article I was reading awhile back.

  • 06-10-2003 01:07 AM #12
    Join Date Feb 2003 Posts 360
    For Fawn:

    I agree with PJ: Get a second opinion. Also, I noticed that you were on PUVA, not UVB. How many sets of PUVA did you do? Did you ever try UVB?

    For bpyatt:

    Scientists know that UVB can cause non-melanoma skin cancer in mice, and the additional risk to humans has yet to be determined. However, long term studies have shown that there is no more risk of developing skin cancer for people with psoriasis undergoing UVB phototherapy than there is for the general public. This does not mean that there is not any additional risk, but it does give you a good idea what the level of total risk is. That's why it's important to be under a doctor's supervision when using home UVB and to get examined regularly for skin cancer. Note that UVB has not been associated with malignant melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer. If you want to see a good lay discussion of this topic see: Can UVB Phototherapy Cause Cancer?

    Broad-band UVB (BBUVB) vs. narrow-band UVB (NBUVB) is another issue. There have been conflicting study results. Without going into too many details, some studies found that NBUVB caused skin cancer in mice faster and in greater number than BBUVB at equivalent erythmic doses. An erythmic dose is the dose necessary to cause reddening of the skin. In phototherapy, a person's sub-erythmic dose is the standard used to determine the effective dose for that person. However, an earlier study found that NBUVB took longer to induce small tumors and about the same amount of time as BBUVB to induce large tumors. Note that these experiments were performed on mice, not people. That's why I pay attention to the human studies. If you want, I can provide links to the PubMed abstracts.

    Most of the murine (mouse) studies were performed in the early and mid 90s. By now, doctors have had much more experience with NBUVB phototherapy for people, and they probably have the safe dosing levels figured out to a much greater degree than they did back then.

    Regards,
    EdR

  • 06-10-2003 05:52 PM #13
    Join Date Feb 2003 Posts 6
    EDR thanks for the info very helpful.

  • 09-14-2004 02:54 PM #14
    Join Date Aug 2004 Posts 145
    From that great list that Edr posted of companies with home units, which are the best? I want to ask my dermatologist for the best one...
    Lets get this thing cured

  • 09-16-2004 11:16 AM #15
    Join Date Feb 2003 Posts 316

    Use of UVB

    Ihave used a BB unit with eight 6 foot bulbs encased in a plywood box. Home made, of course,by my sons and nephew. Even though I eventually had to go on metho and folic acid, I still use the light box in order to maintain a low dosage of metho. I did have one small melanoma removed but that was probably due to the amount of sun that I got from a number of times that I spent two weeks in the Carribean. We were on the beach every day and I came back with a very dark tan. The salt water and sun worked fine at clearing up psoriasis. Too bad the insurance companies will not pay for something as enjoyable as that.