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Dermatology Online Journal

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Home ultraviolet light therapy for psoriasis: Why patients choose other options


Background: Psoriasis is a common inflammatory skin condition for which office-based and home phototherapy are safe and effective treatments. However, patients who are prescribed home phototherapy devices often choose other treatment options.

Objective: To determine the reasons why patients do not purchase a home phototherapy device after it has been recommended and prescribed by their physician.

Methods:  Patients who were written a prescription for a home phototherapy device but did not fill the prescription were identified and contacted by the National Biological Corporation to participate in a telephone survey consisting of 4 questions regarding why they did not pursue a prescribed home ultraviolet device and how they were currently treating their psoriasis.

Results: The most common reason for not obtaining the prescribed home phototherapy device was using a biologic agent (31%). The second and third most frequently reported reasons were “cost share too high” and “insurance will not cover” (18% and 17%, respectively), together accounting for 35%.

Limitations: The reason why patients were prescribed biologics while having an unfilled home phototherapy device prescription was not obtained.

Conclusions: Out of pocket cost is a significant barrier to home phototherapy, even to patients who are well insured.

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