More psoriasis patients should receive ultraviolet B (UVB) treatment at home rather than as hospital outpatients, according to a study reported on the bmj.com website.
This chronic, inflammatory skin condition causes great discomfort and disability, and a significant number of patients have said that they would prefer to be treated at home.
The study by researchers in the Netherlands concludes that home UVB phototherapy is a good alternative that should be considered instead of the standard outpatient UVB phototherapy.
In the UK, Professor Alex Anstey from the Royal Gwent Hospital agrees that conventional treatments should be reassessed, and that an economic assessment is needed. In the meantime, he says, health trusts should work with local dermatologists to improve access to UVB.
The study found that although UVB is safe and effective, because treatment involves attending hospital three times a week for eight to 10 weeks, few patients in the UK receive it.
And with regard to home UVB, says the report, most dermatologists believe it is not as good as hospital treatment and carries more risks, despite lack of supporting evidence.
"I don't see why this could not be make to work. A small portable machine would need to be commissioned (perhaps a ring with a bank of upright tubes that rotated around the patient who was stood in the middle. The intensity could be set and the number of exposures also so that only the correct dosage was administered. I am undergoing a course of UVB at the hospital at the moment and it seems to be working but it's still massively inconvenient to get the hospital three times a week commute into central London" - M Hambly, Hillingdon
"Would be difficult to ensure safe usage at home ... otherwise a good idea much easier and convenient than attending hospital 3 times a week, which is difficult with school or work" - Claire Ellis, Nottingham