UVB treatments are administered in a physician’s office, clinic or at home with a home phototherapy device. There are two types of UVB treatments: Broadband and Narrowband. The major difference between them is that Narrowband UVB units emit a more specific or “narrow” range of UV wavelengths. Narrowband UVB is now more frequently used than Broadband UVB.
Narrowband UVB has proven to be the most effective phototherapy treatment option for thousands of psoriasis patients all over the world. With more research being done every day on conditions such as eczema, vitiligo, and mycosis fungoides, Narrowband UVB continues to show its versatility with its promising results.
Why Narrowband UVB is different
Conventional Broadband UVB lamps emit a variety of wavelengths ranging from 280-330 nm.
Narrowband UVB virtually eliminates superfluous and harmful UV by emitting only wavelengths 311-312 nm.
Clinical studies show the peak therapeutic effectiveness of UVB to be within the range of 295-313 nm, but wavelengths below 300 nm can cause erythema or severe burning and increase the risk of skin cancer.
Benefits of Narrowband UVB Therapy
Eliminating UV in wavelengths below 311 nm permits higher intensities and longer exposure times, so patients can derive the maximum benefit from phototherapy.
This increased effectiveness permits more aggressive treatment regimens, resulting in a shorter course of treatment.
Extensive research* confirms that patients not only avoid the danger of serious burning from sub-erythemal exposure, they may also enjoy longer remission periods after treatment.
Remission periods are similar to those with PUVA therapy and markedly superior to Broadband UVB treatment. Studies show 38-40 percent of Narrowband treated patients require no additional therapy for at least 12 months.
PUVA combines a Psoralen drug (the product name is Oxsoralen) with exposure to ultraviolet light A (UVA). Psoralen makes the body sensitive to UVA rays and is prescribed in either oral or topical form. It may be used on a short- term basis to bring a severe or disabling case of psoriasis under control. The main long-term side effect of PUVA is the increased risk of skin cancer.
UVA1 (340-400nm) is the range of long wavelength ultraviolet light immediately next to visible light in the electromagnetic spectrum. Consequently, UVA1 photons have the deepest penetration into the body, but the lowest energy per photon of any type of ultraviolet light. UVA1 has many different biological effects, including up-regulating collegnase, changing cytokine ratios, and inducing Heme-Oxygenase-1. Typical diseases treated by UVA1 light include sclerotic skin conditions (morphea, scleroderma, graft vs. host) and atopic dermatitis(eczema). UVA1 has been used therapeutically for nearly 20 years, with an excellent safety and effectiveness record.