As with natural sunlight, repeated exposure to ultraviolet light can cause premature aging of the skin and an increased risk of skin cancer. However, when only UVB is used and UVA is excluded, many decades of medical use have proven that these are only minor concerns. Indeed, UVB phototherapy is drug-free and safe for children and women that are pregnant.
When these relatively minor risks of UVB phototherapy are weighed against the risks of other treatment options, often involving strong prescription drugs or even injections, UVB phototherapy is usually found to be the best treatment option, or at least the treatment option that should be tried after topical drugs such as steroids and dovonex have proven minimally effective.
Many governments issue a “formulary” for each biologic drug that says phototherapy must be attempted before the biologic can be prescribed, but unfortunately often with the caveat “(unless not accessible)”, which too often pushes patients into the more risky, expensive, and unnecessary biologic drug.
Furthermore, biologic drugs for psoriasis have been shown to lose their effectiveness rather quickly for many, with the ORBIT study of 703 biologic treatment courses stating: “Overall median drug survival was 31.0 months.” That means that by 31 months half of the patients had stopped treatment because the biologic drug had lost its effectiveness. The ORBIT study was published in the June-2016 edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD). In comparison, UVB phototherapy can be used safely and effectively for many decades, with the bonus of at the same time naturally making large amounts of Vitamin D in the patient’s skin, for health benefits throughout the body.
Other practical safety considerations with phototherapy are that all persons exposed to the UV light must wear eye protection, with patients wearing the UV-blocking goggles supplied with the SolRx device, and with males covering both their penis and scrotum using a sock, unless that area is affected.
To prevent unauthorized use, all SolRx devices have an electrical mains power disconnect switchlock with a key that can be removed and hidden. This is of particular value if children are around, or if there are people that might mistake the device for a tanning machine and take far more treatment time than recommended, resulting in a serious skin burn. The switchlock also makes it easy to electrically disconnect the device, which protects it from possible power surge damage, for example from a lightning strike.