Common Questions | UVBioTek Phototherapy

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Common Questions

Are Prescription Drugs more Effective than Phototherapy?

NB UVB Phototherapy has been consistently shown to be safer, and significantly more effective than prescription drugs for treating psoriasis, eczema or vitiligo…Period!

Contrary to common opinion, NB UVB Phototherapy treamtments does NOT increase the risk for skin cancer.  Yet every prescription drug indicated to treat psoriasis has a laundry list of potential “side-effects” and “adverse reactions”…

Even the new class of oral medications clearly state the “contraindications”, warnings and adverse reactions, including Otzela and Cosentyx

“Cosentyx may increase the risk of infections. Exercise caution when considering the use of Cosentyx in patients with chronic infection or a history of recurrent infection.  Exercise caution when prescribing Cosentyx to patients with active Crohns disease.  Most common adverse reactions include nasopharyngitis, diarrhea, and upper respiratory tract infection”


“Otezla is associated with an increase in adverse reactions of depression.  Patients with a history of depression and/or suicidal thoughts or behavior should not be prescribed Otezla.  The most common adverse reactions to Otzela were nausea, diarrhea, and headache.”

As with all medications, the effectiveness depends on the patient’s particular metabolism. However, based on all the research, more patients will obtain better results with light therapy for psoriasis and eczema. For vitiligo, narrowband is just about the only effective option.

Narrowband UVB phototherapy has been shown to provide moderate to total clearance of 80% or more, on average. Biologic medications work for fewer patients and only produce clearance results of 45% to 60%, with of course the listed potential for adverse reactions…

Quick Comparison: Biologicals versus Phototherapy

Biologics Comparison…

Effectiveness Time Required Cost
PUVA (Psoralen + UVA) 90% 4 Weeks $3,083 to $7,288One-time cost
nbUVB from UVBioTek™ 80-82% 5 Weeks
Remicade* 82% 8 Weeks $18,284 to $27,577annually
Humira* 62% 8 Weeks
Enbrel* 47-49% 8 Weeks
Raptiva* ** 32% 10 Weeks

*Remicade is a registered trademark of Centocor, Inc.

*Humira is a registered trademark of Abbott Laboratories..

*Enbrel® is a registered trademark of Amgen, Inc. / Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.

*Raptiva® is a registered trademark of Genentech.

**Removed from the US market April 2009, due to the risk of PML, a fatal brain infection.

Doesn’t Phototherapy Increase the Risk for Skin Cancer?

When used as prescribed there is no documented evidence that exposure to NB UVB (311 nm) wavelength presents any threat of causing skin cancer!

If the skin gets burned, that can increase your risk for skin cancer. This is true whether you’re at the beach, working outside in your yard, or simply spend a lot of time in the Sun.

Studies have repeatedly shown that UVB phototherapy treatments for psoriasis, vitiligo, eczema and other conditions are effective and safe when used as prescribed. Nothing in medical literature so far indicates that the proper use of UVB light therapy has ever caused any increase in the risk for skin cancer.

What are the Different Types of Phototherapy?

There are really only three valid options; two of which are rarely used today.

PUVA: The combination of UVA exposure while the skin is hyper-sensitive to light through the use of medications called psoralens. While a very effective therapy, it carries enough undesirable side effects that few companies in the US even manufacture psoralens. There is a limit to the number of treatments any patient may receive in their lifetime.

Broadband UVB: While still commonly used, broadband uses more of the UV spectrum than narrowband, which means higher exposures with a less effective light. It is most commonly used to treat psoriasis and does little to nothing for vitiligo.

Narrowband UVB: The “state-of-the-art” today is called narrowband which only emits the most effective part of the UVB light spectrum (308-313nm). It is more effective for more patients with fewer side effects than virtually any other option. All UVBioTek products come with nbUVB lamps unless otherwise specified.

Do I need a Prescription to buy a System?

A valid prescription from a doctor is required to purchase a home phototherapy system. Click here to view the forms necessary for a Home Phototherapy system.  A UVBioTek specific prescription form is requested over a generic physician office prescription…

Home Phototherapy systems are an FDA regulated “Class II Medical Device” a physicians written order is required, along with a UVBioTek Suggested Treatment Plan.

Finally, the patient must sign and provide a “Health Privacy Policy” or “H.I.P.P.A.” form prior to discussing details regarding home phototherapy systems, price quotations or sales.

Why Should I Get a Home Phototherapy System?

Because it makes sense medically, financially and emotionally. If you’ve been receiving treatment for psoriasis or vitiligo at your dermatologist’s office, then you know how cumbersome that process can be. The frequency of the treatments makes it costly and very time-consuming, therefore difficult to maintain the schedule. With a home unit, you treat on your schedule, in the comfort and privacy of your own home, with no fuss and virtually no impact on your lifestyle.

If phototherapy is effective for you and your condition, getting a home unit is smart both medically and financially because you will require treatments for as long as you have the condition (i.e. the rest of your life, especially for psoriasis and vitiligo). When you factor in the co-payments for each visit, plus the time and expense of getting there and back, the cost of long-term office-based phototherapy is much higher. Many people will spend enough out-of-pocket money in just one year of office treatments to more than pay for even our most expensive home systems.

Getting a home unit is also smart emotionally. It puts you in control of when you take your treatments, you don’t have to drive anywhere to take them and you’re in your own home. You can also treat every other day, which is considered to be medically optimal. Doctors often prescribe three treatments per week, which is the most you can take if their offices are closed on the weekends.

Most of all, the purchase of a home light therapy system represents a one-time purchase that can be expected to provide you with a lifetime of effective treatments and clear skin.

Is Home Phototherapy as Expensive as Biologicals?

Not at all! In fact, it’s not even remotely close.

According to a 2010 article in JAMA , “Average annual phototherapy costs ranged from $3,083 to $7,288, while biologic therapies ranged from $18,284 to $27,577 annually.” Note: this refers to office treatments. A home system is a one time purchase. Plus, there are no injections required.

Can I get a Home System Without Making my Room Look Like a Doctor’s Office?

Absolutely! Just make sure your doctor prescribes UVBioTek™. All of our units either fold flat to the wall when not in use, or have door panels that cover and conceal the lamps from view. They look more like a cabinet or a closet than a medical device.

What’s the Difference Between a Single-Panel and Full-Body Systems; Which Should I Get?

With a single panel system, you have to treat the front and back side of the body separately. Full-body systems treat the entire body at one time. They are both just as effective, it simply takes longer using a single panel. Since single panel systems are less expensive, insurance will often try to drive patients toward single panel light systems in order to save money. Full-body systems will almost always provide more consistent and quicker treatments than single panels.

Why Should I Buy a UVBioTek Home System?

Phototherapy performed in the comfort of your own home eliminates the time and travel required to visit a clinic 2-3 times per week!  As well any additional costs associated with phototherapy such as insurance Co-Pays.

UVBioTek offer the most “Hygienic” system on the market today.  Acrylic “Safey Shields” protects the patient from touching the lamps, as well as keeping debris (hair, dust, dander) from accumulating in the system.  Space saving designs and 5 year warranties (2 for the lamps), make a UVBioTek Home Phototherapy system the “Clear Choice in Skin Treatments”!