Effect of heliotherapy on the cost of psoriasis

Br J Dermatol. 1998 Feb;138(2):288-92. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.1998.02076.x.


A 2-year trial was conducted to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of heliotherapy for psoriasis. The course and cost of psoriasis of 46 Finnish patients were first closely monitored for 1 year, then the patients received a 4-week supervised heliotherapy treatment in the Canary Islands, Spain, after which they continued to be followed for another year. Heliotherapy dramatically reduced the severity of psoriasis and also seemed to have favourable long-term effects on psoriasis. The mean direct cost of the 4-week heliotherapy for one patient was FIM12,289 (1 Pound = FIM7.0 in 1989). The cost of flights and half-board in Spain formed nearly 60% (FIM7033) of the total cost. In the year preceding heliotherapy, the mean direct annual cost of antipsoriasis therapy was FIM7335 and in the year after FIM5700, a reduction of 22% in annual costs; this change was not statistically significant because there were large variations in costs among patients. The costs of heliotherapy exceeded manyfold the mean monthly cost of conventional psoriasis therapy. There were no overall savings using heliotherapy in those patients suffering mainly from moderately severe psoriasis. Heliotherapy saved costs only in those patients with severe psoriasis that required expensive medication or ward treatment. Although heliotherapy cannot be regarded as an economical treatment for the average patients with psoriasis, it clears psoriasis effectively and is preferred by patients. Thus, heliotherapy constitutes an alternative for patients suffering severe psoriasis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heliotherapy / economics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psoriasis / economics*
  • Psoriasis / therapy
  • Regression Analysis
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spain
  • Travel / economics