Objective: To assess the efficacy of acitretin and commercial tanning bed therapy for the treatment of moderate to severe chronic plaque-type psoriasis.
Design: Retrospective medical record review and telephone survey of subjects and prospective open-label trial.
Setting: University dermatology clinic.
Patients: The study population comprised 26 subjects in the retrospective study and 17 subjects in the prospective study, all with moderate to severe plaque-type psoriasis.
Intervention: Twelve weeks of daily oral acitretin (25 mg) therapy and commercial tanning bed UV exposure (mean UV-B output of 4.7%) for 4 to 5 days per week.
Results: In the retrospective review, 19 (83%) of 23 subjects had clearance or near clearance, 2 (9%) of 23 had moderate improvement, and 2 (9%) of 23 had no improvement. Patients reported a high degree of satisfaction with the treatment. In the prospective trial, the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) and National Psoriasis Foundation scores decreased an average of 78.6% and 79.0% from baseline, respectively. A reduction from baseline in the PASI score of 50% and 75% (PASI 50 and PASI 75) was achieved by 13 (76%) and 10 (59%) patients, respectively. Adverse events were generally mild to moderate.
Conclusions: Acitretin use in combination with commercial tanning bed therapy appears to be effective and useful for psoriasis in areas without access to physician-directed phototherapy. The variability of tanning salon light and quality mandates caution when using this therapy.