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UVB Narrow Band Today

UVB Narrow Band Today
Prepared for Vitiligo Support International
by Chris Cane of Amjo Corp - August 12, 2004.

Finally Success
As each day passes, more and more studies show that UVB Narrow Band is fast becoming the phototherapy treatment of choice for Vitiligo. It has been proven effective in the majority of cases usually providing significant repigmentation for Vitiligo sufferers. Proof perhaps of this is that now most insurance companies cover the purchase of home UVB Narrow Band systems. This is a remarkable shift in the behavior of these companies over the past 4-5 years due in part to the efforts of the medical community and the awareness increase generated by National Biological Corp,  our company Amjo Corp and that of V.S.I. (Vitiligo Support International).

UVB Narrow Band is a unique form of ultraviolet light treatment or therapy which can provide a very high therapeutic dose while reducing the likelihood of burning. Today we are finding that many dermatologists are prescribing Narrow Band UVB for in office and in home use.

In the July issue of Dermatology Times, Dr. Pearl Grimes is quoted as saying "Narrowband UVB has become my treatment of choice for patients with moderate to severe vitiligo, defined as having more than 15 to 20 percent body surface area involvement" Click here for the full article.

In the September 2001 Issue of Skin & Allergy News, Damian McNamara reports "Narrow-band UVB is an effective treatment for vitiligo..." and "... Researchers found this type of phototherapy better tolerated than traditional approaches such as corticosteroids and topical PUVA..." Click here to locate article.

In the February 2004 issue of Dermatology Times, Dr Natta Rajatanavin of Thailand is quoted as saying "Based on our analyses, we consider NBUVB the treatment of choice... " Click here for the full article.

You can click on this image to see more information on UVB Narrow Band and what it is.
You can click on the above image to see more information about UVB Narrow Band and what it is.

The graph at the left is displaying our skin's erythemal (sun burning) sensitivity to UV light, this is the red curve centered around 295 nm. Conventional UVB or Broadband is represented by the blue line centered around 305 nm and UVB Narrow Band, the green line which is centered around 313 nm. One can see that UVB Narrow Band barely intercepts our skin's sensitivity to its sun burning or erythema. Readers interested in more information on this detail should click here or on the graph to the left.

Until quite recently, the "gold standard" in the use of UV light for the treatment of vitiligo was PUVA. Today the gold standard is UVB Narrow Band.

PUVA is an acronym for 'P'soralen and 'UVA' (long wavelength UV light). The name Psoralen represents a number of drugs that make our skin more sensitive to UV light.

Although effective, PUVA requires that the patient consume a drug called Oxoralen  (8-metoxipsoralen) or another Psoralen. Psoralens have several undesirable side effects. Because Psoralens increase the body's response to UV light, users must take precautions following treatment for 24 to 48 hours and protect their eyes and exposed skin from direct sunlight as severe burning can develop. Many patients can become nauseated when taking psoralens. Psoralens can cause liver toxicity and require that the patient have periodic blood tests. Because of these risks, PUVA is seldom prescribed for home use and one needs to visit the doctor 2 to 3 times per week for treatments which typically take less than five minutes. Psoralens are also extremely expensive and make the overall treatment costs much higher than the more simple UVB Narrow Band approach.

UVB Narrow band overcomes all of these challenges with PUVA and has very similar effectiveness.

UVB Narrow Band

  • Provides treatment effectiveness similar to PUVA.
  • Does not cause nausea.
  • Does not require the use of a drug such as Oxoralen during treatment.
  • Does not require that the patient wear UV blocking eyewear for 24 to 48 hours following treatment.
  • Reduces the likelihood of serious sun burns or erythema.
  • Promotes repigmenting areas with vitiligo.
  • Can easily be prescribed for home use, avoiding frequent expensive and time consuming trips to the dermatologist's office.

Multiple studies have now concluded that UVB Narrow Band can help repigment areas of skin with vitiligo in the majority of cases.

Typical Applications
UVB Narrow Band is often used alone and sometimes in conjunction with other therapies.

UVB Narrow Band Alone
This is perhaps the most popular use of UVB Narrow Band in the treatment of vitiligo. The patient is exposed to a therapeutic dose of UVB-NB usually once every two days or more typically three times per week. This can be performed in a phototherapy system in a clinical environment or as preferred by many, in the patient's home. Many studies have found this to be an effective approach.

UVB Narrow Band and Pseudocatalase
Much of the research and application of pseudocatalase has been done by Dr. Karin U. Schallreuter whose clinics are at the University of Bradford in the UK and Greifswald Germany. Dr. Schallreuter performs a battery of tests and then has her patient apply PC-KUS in cream form and then a short exposure of UVB Narrow Band is used as a catalyst to begin the healing process.

Here in the USA some pharmacies are offering a version of pseudocatalase which is formulated differently from that offered by Dr. Schallreuter. The differences between these creams is beyond the scope of this article on the use of UVB Narrow Band. Suffice it to say, sunlight or UVB Narrow band is always prescribed to help activate the effect of pseudocatalase.

Narrow Band UVB with Topical Drugs
UVB Narrow Band and the use of Protopic (tacrolimus by Fujisawa) or Elidel (pimecrolimmus by Novartis) seem to be the most popular. Although not approved for Vitiligo many dermatologists are prescribing these creams with some success. Reading various postings on the Vitiligo Support International website it appears that the two treatments are not used simultaneously but more as two different treatments running concurrently. One sees Elidel or Protopic used in the afternoon or morning and the UVB NB used in the morning or afternoon respectively. Again the use or application of these topical creams is outside the scope of this article.

UVB Narrow Band Treatment Options
The writer's company Amjo Corp offers several treatment options for UVB Narrow Band Phototherapy.

The Panosol II UVB Narrow Band panels available in 2' and 6' heights. Without a doubt these are the most popular UVB Narrow Band treatment options. The Panosol II six foot high models weigh less than 80 lbs (40 kg) and roll easily for storage and use.

More information can be seen by clicking here..

For full body treatment we offer the Foldalite-B. The Foldalite-B provides full body 360 degree coverage and can be stored in a minimum amount of space.

More information can be seen by clicking here.

For spot treatment, the Handisol NB is unequalled. Click Here.
The Handisol NB treats an area roughly 1.5" x 6" at a time and is perfect for smaller areas.

More information can be seen by clicking here.

UV Narrow Band panels and Handisol NB's have been shipped to the four corners of the globe.

The information provided herein is not medical advice. Readers are encouraged to obtain the help, services and recommendations of dermatologists and other medical practitioners. None of us at Amjo Corp are medically trained, we are selling UVB Narrow Band phototherapy systems Lamps as a business and for profit.

The Writer
Chris Cane is the president of Amjo Corp, a company specializing in UV Phototherapy for the home user.

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