Psoriasis patients have a new treatment option with Levia, a hand-held unit intended for administering ultraviolet UVB light at home. This device, recently cleared for use by the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA), targets UV light directly at psoriatic lesions, sparing healthy skin from exposure, a feature that Levia’s developer, Lerner Medical Devices, terms “personal targeted phototherapy.” About the size of a hairdryer, Levia comes with two attachments: one, designed to treat plaques on the body, emits a beam of light slightly smaller than one square inch in area; the other, designed to treat scalp psoriasis, consists of a brush with fiber optic bristles that helps the light beam bypass hair and reach the skin.
Levia units are shipped to patients with their personal treatment regimen pre-programmed according to instructions from their doctor. Patients typically self administer treatments two or three times a week for about six weeks; the company says most begin to see results after 4 to 8 treatments. Patients can continue with less frequent maintenance therapy once their lesions have improved.
The light is held over an affected area of skin for anywhere from a fraction of a second up to ten seconds depending on the patient’s sensitivity to UV light. Treatment of the entire scalp, for example, might take between three and fifteen minutes. However, because Levia’s beam is directed at such a small area, it works best for patients who have psoriasis on less than 15% of their bodies. Medical insurance policies that cover durable medical devices should pay some of the costs of Levia.
UVB phototherapy has fewer side effects and unknowns than many other psoriasis treatments; the ability to target treatment exclusively to affected areas of skin may further reduce the risks. Given the combination of safety and the convenience of home use, Levia may be an attractive option for patients with mild to moderate psoriasis.
Have any of you tried this new option? If so, leave a comment below with your thoughts.
[More on UVB/phototherapy.]