Dead Sea salt bath boosts UVB benefits in psoriasis
MedWire News: Patients with psoriasis undergoing phototherapy achieve larger improvements in their condition if they simultaneously bathe in a Dead Sea salt solution, shows a randomized trial.
The additional benefits may last for up to 6 months after treatment cessation, the researchers report in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.
The trial involved 367 patients who were randomly assigned to receive narrowband ultraviolet (UV)B phototherapy with or without simultaneous bathing in a 10% Dead Sea salt solution (synchronous balneophototherapy).
The patients received three to five treatment sessions per week, with treatment duration increased gradually up to 30 minutes and UVB dose increased to a maximum of 3.38 J/cm2, if tolerated.
Over 35 treatment sessions, Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) scores declined from an initial median of about 15 to 8.6 in patients receiving phototherapy alone versus 2.7 in those receiving simultaneous Dead Sea salt bathing.
Most patients (237) were available for follow-up at 6 months after treatment cessation, at which point those who underwent synchronous balneophototherapy continued to have significantly lower PASI scores than those who received phototherapy alone, at 2.0 versus 4.2.
Skin complaints such as erythema and light dermatoses were more common among patients who received synchronous balneophototherapy than those who received phototherapy alone, at 12.2% versus 9.5%. Annette Klein (University Hospital Regensburg, Germany) and team say that this is not surprising, as salt solution bathing increases photosensitivity.
Nevertheless, they conclude that synchronous balneophototherapy is an effective and low-risk option in clinical practice.
And they add: "Although balneophototherapy is time-consuming, it was rated positively by the patients, to some extent certainly caused by the easy handling and low rate of side-effects."
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By Eleanor McDermid