Psoriasis: Putting the needs of patients at the front line
How convenient and gentle new treatment options lead to exceptional compliance
Convenience is a key factor when consumers all over the world choose services, products and suppliers. This trend also affects the medical world. In particular, patients with chronic diseases are looking for treatments that interfere less with their everyday lives and make them feel less like a patient.
Psoriasis vulgaris is one such chronic disease where patients and physicians are seeking new, convenient and gentle therapy options. About 100 million people worldwide are affected by psoriasis vulgaris, also known as plaque psoriasis. The physical and psychological effects of the skin disease can be debilitating, as the patients suffer from scaly red plaques and peeling on visible parts of their bodies.
Current treatment options are not adequate. Especially for patients suffering from the mild and moderate form of the disease, no new treatment alternatives have been introduced over the last years. International studies conclude that 75% of psoriasis patients are dissatisfied with their treatment.1 The frequent application of ointments is perceived to be inconvenient and time-consuming, limiting patients in their daily activities. The treatment compliance is low. It is reported that up to 40% of patients are reluctant to take pharmaceuticals.2 Anxiety about possible side effects, inadequate efficacy and the efforts required by treatments lead to low compliance, 3,4 which limits the success of these therapies.
Compliance is Key to Treatment Success
The need for a new treatment paradigm taking the practical and emotional impact the treatment poses on the patients more into account is obvious. In other words, treatments need a “usability upgrade” – it needs to be easier to integrate treatments into the patients’ daily lives and reduce the worries about side effects.
With the introduction of the blue light phototherapy device Philips BlueControl, we have proven that treatments that are gentle, convenient and effective noticeably improve the compliance rate. Our recent clinical study concludes that 98% of patients were compliant in following the blue light treatment recommendations over the trial period of four months. Eighty-three percent of the patients rated the usability and comfort of our therapy device Philips BlueControl as ideal or excellent. 5
Philips Partners with Distinguished Institutions and Clinics
Innovations do not come out of the blue. They require research and above all an exchange of ideas. For this reason, we work closely together with distinguished institutions and clinics, both on a scientific and medical level. With these strong partners, we investigate the principles of the interaction of light with human cells in different projects that include clinical studies with patients. The primary objective of all projects is to confirm the efficacy and safety of our medical devices.
These investigations confirmed that blue light reduces the accelerated proliferation of keratinocytes and decreases the inflammatory response.6, 7 After long years of research and optimization, we were able to successfully define the optimal wavelength, intensity and LED settings to harness these properties for the treatment of plaque psoriasis.
The clinical studies with patients endorse our efforts: 84% of patients showed an improvement in plaque symptoms (thickness, redness and scaling) compared to baseline over a treatment period of 12 weeks. (Daily treatment for the first 4 weeks only, followed by 3 treatments per week for the next 8 weeks. No treatment during the 4-week follow-up phase.) For some patients, the plaque was cleared completely.5
No adverse events associated with the blue light therapy were observed in our clinical trials. 5 As Philips BlueControl is effective by using visible blue light only, no UV radiation risks are associated. Philips BlueControl is the world’s first wearable UV-free blue LED light medical device to treat plaque psoriasis at home, without the need for additional ointments.
Designed with the patient in mind, the battery driven device can be used anytime and anywhere. Patients just attach the device to their arms or leg, press the button and can carry on with their daily activities. And in the words of Mattias Lundell, who lives in the Stockholm area, his everyday life has significantly changed since using our blue light-technology.
“Now I can treat my psoriasis at home or on the go. Recently, I even used Philips BlueControl during a meeting. It just frees up time that can be spent in the gym, for projects at work and, more importantly, on quality time with my family,” he says.
Before using the blue light therapy, Lundell was also worried that his 11-month-old daughter would come into contact with his skin while being treated with medication. But since Philips BlueControl only uses blue light to treat the skin – and no chemicals – the device eliminates this concern.
“As a father and an active person I am relieved to have found a treatment that makes me enjoy every day again with fewer obstacles and concerns,” he says.
And the potential of gentle and convenient light therapies is far from exhausted. Philips Light & Health continues to develop medical applications in which light and health come together and that are designed with the patient in mind, in line with its brand promise: ‘Innovation that matters to you.’
Stern RS, Nijsten T, Feldman SR, Margolis DJ, Rolstad T. J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc. 2004; 9: 136 – 9.
Richards HL, Fortune DG, O’Sullivan TM, Main CJ, Gri¡ ths CE. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1999; 41: 581 – 3.
Zaghloul SS, Good eld MJ. Archives of Dermatology. 2004; 140: 408 – 14.
Richards HL, Fortune DG, Gri¡ ths CE. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology & Venereology. 2006; 20: 370 – 9.
Pfaff S et al.. Dermatology. 2015; 231: 24-34.
Liebmann J, Born M, Kolb-Bachofen MV. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 2010; 130: 259-269.
Fischer M et al. Experimental Dermatology. 2013; 22: 554-563.
General Manager Philips Light & Health
Since 2011, David has been leading Philips Light & Health, a business unit that develops and commercializes LED-based medical devices. Philips Light & Health is a high-performing and diverse team of 30+ members working across various functions (research and development, marketing, sales, operation, quality and regulatory). Its unique technology platform addresses multiple medical applications, primarily in the dermatology space, enabling cost-effective and more convenient treatment for patients. Prior to that, David built extensive marketing and sales experience at Philips Consumer Lifestyle and Mars Petcare, working in various managerial roles at country and headquarters levels. He holds an MBA with distinction from the Rotterdam School of Management Erasmus University.
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Effective, Empowering and Life-Changing: New blue light therapy with Philips BlueControl – a big step for psoriasis treatment and patients’ lives
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