An easy guide to perform Phototherapy at Home

An easy guide to perform Phototherapy at Home
11 Apr

An easy guide to perform Phototherapy at Home

Home Unit and Hand-Held Unit
The Home unit is a 4 tube unit or a panel having UVB only while the Hand-held unit is a 1 or 2 tube unit. Only the affected area is exposed to the light keeping other areas covered.
Note: Since this unit may or may not have a dosimeter the treatment has to be administered based on time (in minutes). The light source used by all machines is the standard TL-01 tubes. A chart should be maintained by the patient at home to monitor the progress. Protective eye wear should be worn during the treatment at all times.

1. The Home unit should be placed on a flat surface (in case of Hand-held unit it should be held in hand) and patient should position himself/herself accordingly.
2. An approximate distance of 6 inches should be maintained between the unit and the affected lesion to be exposed to light. Or, an ideal distance should be maintained.
3. The treatment should be taken three times a week or two times a week as advised by the dermatologist.
4. The initial (first) recommended dose is 2 minutes.
5. It is increased by 30 seconds (usually done 10-20%, but in cases without a dosimeter not possible) every session until the affected lesion turns pink (mild erythema).
6. Once lesions turns pink and persists over a period of 24 hours post the dose, the time is fixed. This is continued till the lesions stop turning pink at the designated time.
7. Further, once mild erythema (pinkness) ceases, the time (dose) is increased again to achieve mild erythema.
8. At any stage the affected area should not turn red and the patient should not experience any itching. However there can be occurrence of an uncomfortable sunburn type effect about 8 hours after treatment, but this fades away in few days and should be treated with frequent and liberal amount of moisturizer.

Advantages: – The person does not have to travel large distances to avail the treatment. They can take the treatment at their convenient time. Social and work life are not affected.

Side Effects:
1. Sun burn like reaction
2. Tanning of skin.
3. Thickening of the skin.
4. The effect of phototherapy is similar to Sun exposure and causes aging of skin.
5. Development of skin cancer: This is more theoretical because there is no case report of skin cancer due to UV rays. All studies are done in white Caucasian patients who are prone to develop UV related skin cancer. In South Asian and Middle Eastern population UV related skin cancers are extremely rare. Vitiligo is known to protect people from skin cancers due to up-regulation of p53 gene.
Many studies have concluded that home unit shows similar efficacy (results) like that of the clinic based phototherapy.
Important Note: Inform physician in case of any adverse effects immediately and refrain from over treating.

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