Objective: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common autoimmune disease for which there is no known cure. Ultraviolet light can induce immunosuppressive effects. Our main objective was to ascertain whether a complementary treatment with phototherapy would improve changes in functional scales in patients with RA.
Methods: Seven women with RA were enrolled for this study and submitted to phototherapy sessions with a 425–650 nm lamp.
Results: The Karnofsky scale changed from requiring frequent medical care to being capable of normal activity with few symptoms or signs of disease (p = 0.018), the rheumatoid arthritisspecific quality of life questionnaire decreased abruptly from 29 to 0 points (p = 0.018), the Steinbrocker functional capacity rating changed from limited to little or none of the duties of usual occupation or self-care to complete ability to carry out all the usual duties without handicaps (p = 0.017). The pain was remitted after the treatment period. The acute inflammation variables showed a significant decrease after the indicated sessions, C-reactive protein (p = 0.042) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (p = 0.018).
Conclusion: The evaluated scales clearly show a benefit with the phototherapy in patients with RA. Thus, phototherapy seems to be a plausible complementary option to educe the symptoms of RA.