Narrowband UVB (NB-UVB) Phototherapy is an option for the treatment of vitiligo that uses ultraviolet light in a very narrow range of wavelengths (311 – 312 nanometers). This wave range has been shown to be more effective when treating areas of depigmentation and is less likely to cause adverse effects such as sunburn. *
A study completed at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, studied the differences between two groups of patients receiving phototherapy treatment for their vitiligo: One group received their treatments in-office while the other group received their treatments at home.
The study found that home phototherapy patients who self-administered Narrowband UVB at home had lower costs and reduced time spent on treatment than the in-office patients. The home group had an average cost of treatment projected over one year of $4,590, while the average cost was $21,270.84 for the in-office group. The cost for the in-office group did not include the cost of lost wages and travel expenses.
The time savings were also significant. For the home group, the average treatment time of twenty-two minutes included undressing, dressing and device setup times in addition to the actual treatment time. For the in-office group, calculated times included travel times plus the average time from check-in to check-out at the clinic. This group had an average treatment time of 86 minutes.
In terms of efficacy, both groups showed improvement in their vitiligo. The home group had an average percentage of improvement of 43%, while the value for the in-office group was 45%.
Home Narrowband UVB phototherapy is just as effective and safe as in-office phototherapy.*
If home vitiligo treatments are easier for the patient to complete and cost them less money, it could improve overall treatment success, compliance and patient satisfaction.
* Jean-Claire Powe B.S., ChiAyrsh Ford B.S., Amit G. Pandya M.D. Department of Dermatology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX. Home vs. In-Office Phototherapy for Patients with Vitiligo: Comparison of Time, Cost, Efficacy, and Safety.