How much do you know about phototherapy?
World-renowned psoriasis expert, Dr. Charles Camisa with Riverchase Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery has 30 years of experience dealing with this type of treatment. Dr. Camisa offers these phototherapy facts:
1. Phototherapy is a form of physical therapy utilizing ultraviolet to treat psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo (all 3 very common diseases) and one rare form of skin cancer.
2. Phototherapy is most often provided by dermatologists in their offices, but it is not widely available, especially in Florida.
3. Phototherapy was first developed by a Mayo Clinic dermatologist in the 1920s; while it has been enhanced and improved over the years, dermatologists have nearly 100 years of experience with it.
4. Phototherapy is the safest and most consistently effective treatment for moderate to severe psoriasis.
5. The annual cost of psoriasis treatment is lowest with methotrexate, a chemotherapy drug that causes liver and blood side effects. Phototherapy is the second lowest costing treatment for psoriasis. All of the other drugs (old and new) that are used to treat this condition are more expensive.
6. If phototherapy becomes less accessible, seniors would be hurt because the alternative drug therapies have more side effects in older patients and they are usually more expensive. Phototherapy, as an in-office treatment is covered by Medicare, but the prescription coverage for these patients is variable and usually not as robust with gaps and exclusions, that make consistently effective treatment difficult at best.
7. For children with severe psoriasis, there are almost no approved drug treatments; phototherapy is a mainstay of treatment for psoriasis as well as eczema, which is even more common in children.
8. The two groups that would be hurt the most by the reduced local availability of phototherapy are the two most vulnerable: seniors and children. It is usually not practical for these groups to travel to teaching hospitals that offer these services because the treatments are usually needed one to three times per week in order to be effective.
For more information, visit www.riverchasedermatology.com. You can also find out more about Dr. Camisa and the Camisa Psoriasis Center on the Riverchase website.To learn more about current issues in dermatology, check out Dr. Camisa’s blog at www.drcamisasblog.com.