Objective: Rheumatoid arthritis is a common autoimmune disease for which there is no known cure. UV light can induce immunosuppressive effects. Our main objective was to ascertain whether a complementary treatment with phototherapy improves changes in functional scales in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Methods: Seven women with rheumatoid arthritis were enrolled for this study and submitted to phototherapy sessions with a 425 to 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 RaQol questionnaire decreased abruptly from 29 to zero 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), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (p = 0.018).
Conclusion: The evaluated scales clearly show a benefit with the phototherapy in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Thus, phototherapy seems to be a plausible complementary option to reduce the symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis.
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