Narrowband UVB Therapy

An Update on Narrowband Ultraviolet B Therapy for the Treatment of Skin Diseases


The objective of this review is to provide an update on narrowband ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) as a treatment for various skin conditions. NB-UVB works by suppressing the cutaneous cell-mediated immune response and has been shown to be an efficacious and clinically tolerable treatment for a range of inflammatory dermatoses. A literature search was conducted by advanced searches of PubMed for NB-UVB treatment of dermatologic skin diseases with a focus on reports from 2010 to 2021, including both office-based and home-based phototherapy (HBPT). Data were prioritized based on studies with a high level of evidence using the Oxford Evidence-Based Medicine guidance. We found that NB-UVB continues to serve as an effective form of therapy for several cutaneous conditions, including vitiligo, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, mycosis fungoides, and other inflammatory dermatoses. The recent introduction of Janus kinase inhibitors in combination with NB-UVB suggests future promise in the treatment of vitiligo. Despite its rise in popularity, a decline was seen in office-based NB-UVB treatment during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Options are available to deliver NB-UVB at home with comparable efficacy to office-based treatments. In conclusion, for a select group of patients and conditions, NB-UVB continues to serve as an effective treatment modality with minimal side effects, with HBPT serving as an option to improve patient compliance.