Effect of heliotherapy on skin and joint symptoms in psoriasis: a 6-month follow-up study.
Br J Dermatol. 1993 Feb;128(2):172-7. PMID: 8457451
Social Insurance Institution, Helsinki, Finland.
The effect of heliotherapy on psoriasis skin lesions and arthritis was studied in a trial comprising 4 weeks of therapy in the Canary Islands and a 6-month follow-up period. A total of 373 patients participated in the heliotherapy and 361 patients completed the follow-up period. The severity of skin lesions was evaluated using a psoriasis severity index (PSI), and that of the arthropathy by using an arthritis index (AI). During heliotherapy, the PSI decreased significantly from the initial median value of 4.5 to the final value of 0.2. A reduction in the PSI of at least 75% was achieved in 84% of the patients. Guttate psoriasis improved significantly better than plaque-type or erythrodermic psoriasis. There was no correlation between skin type and improvement. Initially, 129 patients had symptoms of arthritis. During heliotherapy, the AI decreased significantly from the initial median value of 6 to the final value of 2. The median time until starting another treatment after heliotherapy was 80 days, and the PSI had returned to its original value in 49% of the patients in 6 months. In patients with joint symptoms the AI returned to the pretreatment level within 6 months. A 4-week heliotherapy period effectively cleared psoriasis, alleviated joint symptoms, and reduced both morbidity and treatment requirement to a considerable extent in the ensuing 6-month period.