For many, suffering from a chronic skin condition can be painful, and embarrassing. Psoriasis is a common problem that causes irritation and redness, and those with eczema have rashes and itchy swelling of the skin. Now there is a new UVB phototherapy treatment option with Levia UVB-Select device.
Featured today on The Doctors, Dr. Sonia Bartra demonstrates how to use this new device. The Levia unit uses ultraviolet B (UVB) phototherapy to provide a generally safe and drug free treatment option to patients. The device is available by prescription and is used every day or every other day. One audience member who uses the device stated that after only 3 months, her psoriasis was nearly cleared.
Patients with mild to moderate psoriasis will typically have some relief from itching after 3-6 sessions and will see results after 4-10 treatments. Often, no results are visible until after the initial 1-4 treatments, but it's critical to continue your prescribed treatment regimen and do not over expose or skip an area. Each patient is unique so results will vary.
Phototherapy has been shown to be extremely safe and effective in controlling psoriasis. You and your physician will need to discuss how to use UVB light to keep your skin and scalp in remission with minimal side effects. People who undergo phototherapy should visit their dermatologist at regular intervals (every 6 months or as directed by your physician) for a complete skin examination.
There are different attachments available to treat the skin and the more difficult to treat scalp. The treatments are pain free and patients can avoid the frequent office visits typically associated with light therapy in the physician's office. There are very few risks and side effects, but there are some people for whom treatment with UVB is not recommended, so discuss all of your medical history with your physician.
How much does Levia cost? According to the manufacturer, the in-office Levia unit costs approximately $9,000 but the in-home prescription device is significantly less. A patient's out of pocket cost, depending on their insurance reimbursement, could be from several hundred dollars to over $1,500. After which, regular maintenance costs may apply for the upkeep of the device.
Studies have shown that people who receive UVB phototherapy do not have increased rates of skin cancer compared to the general population. A 2009 paper titled, "Treatments for psoriasis and the risk of malignancy" by Rita V. Patel, DA, Lily N. Clark, MD, Mark Lebwohl, MD, and Jeffrey M Weinberg, MD stated: "Review of studies on UVB, both Narrowband and Broadband, do not indicate any increased risk of non-melanoma skin cancer or melanoma."