Effectiveness of UV Light Therapy for psoriatic arthritis

effectiveness of uv light therapy for psoriatic arthritis

“UV light for psoriasis treatment is considered safe. Can also cure psoriatic arthritis.”

Psoriasis a genetic inflammatory disease, which targets the skin of the patient. In this condition, the skin cells starts multiplying with a speed 10 times faster than the normal cell formation. Psoriasis has been found to affect the bones and joints and might result in a destructive type of arthritis, known as psoriatic arthritis. Its impact can be seen all over the body, but its root cause is still unknown.

Till date, the only available treatments for arthritis include anti-inflammatory medication and exercises. These treatments only reduce the effect of the disease, such as joint inflammation, pain and stiffness, but do not completely cure the disease. However, a recent study reported a novel treatment for the same. A light-based therapy, also known as phototherapy, has been introduced for treating the disease.

According to some researches, psoriasis is responsive to a narrow band of ultra violet light; hence, the treatment is called “narrow band” light therapy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) regulates medical devices used for phototherapy, and the affected joints also respond to the treatment when the target organ is skin. On this, Jami Miller, MD, Supervisor of Phototherapy Clinic and Assistant Professor of Medicine and Dermatology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, said, “You do get a systemic modulation of the immune system. It’s interesting that when you treat the skin, the joints respond.”


Psoriatic arthritis is a highly destructive disease, according to Yusuf Yazici, MD, a Rheumatologist at NYU Lagone’s Center of Musculoskeletal Care in New York City. He said, “This type of arthritis needs to be controlled by drugs — it can be very destructive if it’s not treated aggressively.”

Different types of UV light therapy are available that include different types of ultraviolet lights like UVA, UVB, and combination of medication with UVA. UVA treatment includes UVA exposure to short duration (typically 30 seconds) for 4-50 sessions; depending on the requirement of the patient. On the other hand, UVB treatment requires the patient to be hospitalized for three weeks and this is done in association with coal tar treatment. Besides, PUVA treatment is a combination of oral medicine psoralen and UVA, wherein the medicine boosts up the process of phototherapy.

The treatment may not work effectively on the people with dark complexion and for people, who are taking the PUVA treatment, there is a risk for the development of skin cancer. Nevertheless, preventive measures are taken by the doctors during all types of UV light treatments to eliminate or minimize treatment-related risks.