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Study backs UVB treatment at home for psoriasis

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A new study claims that patients with psoriasis can be treated with ultraviolet B (UVB) as effectively and safely at home as they can in hospital.

Phototherapy is conventionally carried out in hospitals, but the research shows that patients having the therapy at home find it less of a burden and are more satisfied with the treatment.

Although UVB treatment is safe and effective, limited availability and time constraints within hospitals mean that few patients in the UK ever receive it.

The situation is compounded by the belief held by most dermatologists that home phototherapy is not as effective as hospital treatment, although there is no evidence to support this.

The new research by a team of experts in the Netherlands compared UVB phototherapy given at home with that received in hospital.

Writing in the online edition of the BMJ, they conclude that home phototherapy is equally as safe and effective as outpatient phototherapy, both clinically and in terms of quality of life. The majority of patients said they would prefer home UVB therapy over hospital-based therapy in the future.

The authors suggest that current guidelines regarding the treatment of patients with psoriasis should be updated to reflect their findings.

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