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Summary

Background

Self-administration of narrowband (TL-01) ultraviolet (UV)B phototherapy by patients at home is a safe and effective mode of treatment. Could selected patients self-administer phototherapy in hospital?

Objectives

To assess the feasibility of outpatient self-administration of UVB phototherapy as a potential service development.

Methods

A total of 20 patients with psoriasis (= 15) and eczema (= 5) (13 female, mean age 32 years, range 17–56 years) were included in this pilot project. Patients underwent a training programme over 2 days, which included a minimal erythemal dose test and supervised treatment, prior to commencing self-administration of phototherapy. Questionnaires were used to gather feedback from patients and staff.

Results

Treatment data were collected for 18 of the 20 patients. The mean number of exposures was 25 (range 3–45), and the mean cumulative dose was 16 J cm−2 (range 0·23–41·27 J cm−2). No unexpected adverse effects were noted. These results were similar to those of a sample group of outpatients who had nurse-administered UVB phototherapy, for whom the mean number of exposures was 24 (range 4–49) and the mean cumulative dose was 17 J cm−2 (range 0·53–71·16 J cm−2). Thirteen patients completed the questionnaires. All concluded that the training programme sufficiently prepared them for self-administering phototherapy, and 12 reported that they would be happy to self-administer treatment in the future.

Conclusions

Self-administration of UVB phototherapy is practicable, safe and effective for most selected patients. This mode of treatment provides training and support for patients to gain more control over management of their skin disease, empowering them to take an active role in their treatment. Self-administration of UVB phototherapy by outpatients provides an intermediate level of care between nurse-administered hospital phototherapy and self-administered home phototherapy.