Therapeutic Efficacy of Home-Use Photobiomodulation Devices: A Systematic Literature Review

Photobiomodul Photomed Laser Surg. 2019 Jan;37(1):4-16. doi: 10.1089/photob.2018.4512.


Objective: Perform systematic literature review on photobiomodulation (PBM) devices used at home for nonesthetic applications. Background: Home-use PBM devices have been marketed for cosmetic and therapeutic purposes. This is the first systematic literature review for nonesthetic applications. Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted for PBM devices self-applied at home at least thrice a week. Two independent reviewers screened the articles and extracted the data. Treatment dosage appropriateness was compared to the World Association for Laser Therapy (WALT) recommendations. The efficacy was evaluated according to the relevant primary end-point for the specific indication. Results: Eleven studies were suitable. Devices were applied for a range of indications, including pain, cognitive dysfunction, wound healing, diabetic macular edema, and postprocedural side effects, and were mostly based on near-infrared, pulsed light-emitting diodes with dosages within WALT recommendations. Regarding efficacy, studies reported mostly positive results. Conclusions: Home-use PBM devices appear to mediate effective, safe treatments in a variety of conditions that require frequent applications. Conclusive evaluation of their efficacy requires additional, randomized controlled studies.

Keywords: home use; low-level laser therapy; over the counter; photobiomodulation; self-applied.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Self Care / instrumentation*