It is recommended that patients undertake light therapy under the supervision of a qualified professional, rather than attempting to self-medicate.
Individuals who are taking photosensitizing drugs should not use light therapy, except as explicitly directed by a doctor.
Individuals with a strong family history of skin cancer should exercise extreme caution when considering phototherapy.
Some types of light cause progressive damage to human skin. This is mediated by genetic damage, collagen damage, as well as destruction of vitamin A and Vitamin C in the skin and free radical generation.
Visible blue light has been suggested to cause DNA breaks, but available studies have not confirmed this; enzymes within the cells are believed to repair the breaks reasonably well.
Consumers should be wary of medical claims about light therapy from manufacturers. In recent years, the Food and Drug Administration has issued several warnings to the manufacturers of light therapy products who claim to offer a medical cure without research to substantiate these claims.
This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
American Academy of Dermatology. Last accessed June 16, 2006. www.aad.org
American Academy of Family Physicians. Last accessed June 16, 2006. www.aafp.org
American Psychological Association. Last accessed June 16, 2006. www.apa.org
Food and Drug Administration. Last accessed June 16, 2006. www.fda.gov
Lam RW, Levitt AJ, Levitan RD, et al. The Can-SAD study: a randomized controlled trial of the effectiveness of light therapy and fluoxetine in patients with winter seasonal affective disorder. Am J Psychiatry. 2006 May;163(5):805-12.
Stasinopoulos D, Stasinopoulos I. Comparison of effects of Cyriax physiotherapy, a supervised exercise programme and polarized polychromatic non-coherent light (Bioptron light) for the treatment of lateral epicondylitis. Clin Rehabil. 2006 Jan;20(1):12-23.
Stasinopoulos D, Stasinopoulos I, Johnson MI. Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome with polarized polychromatic noncoherent light (Bioptron light): a preliminary, prospective, open clinical trial. Photomed Laser Surg. 2005 Apr;23(2):225-8.
World Health Organization: Problems with the Neonate and Young Infant. 2 June 2006. www.who.int
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children,
never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.