Synchronous balneo-phototherapy, in which a Dead Sea salt bath is used simultaneously with ultraviolet light therapy, could be beneficial for treating atopic eczema, according to the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).
The IQWiG had previously determined a greater benefit of balneo-phototherapy than phototherapy alone in psoriasis, but at that time said convincing results were not available for atopic eczema.
As part of a new review of evidence, commissioned by the Federal Joint Committee in Germany, the IQWiG considered findings from two studies. The first study included 180 patients while the second included 500 people with atopic eczema who were treated for at least one month, and received between 10 and 35 treatment sessions.
The IQWiG noted that results for the outcome “skin status”, which included symptoms such as itching or insomnia, were in favour of synchronous balneo-phototherapy. However, the review did not reach conclusions on quality of life or side effects.
Stefan Sauerland, Head of the IQWiG Department of Non-Drug Interventions, said high-quality studies on bathing treatments are important to be able to "separate the useful from the useless" in the management of atopic eczema.