BACKGROUND: In 2008, Ninewells Hospital became the first centre in the UK to offer grenz rays as a treatment for inflammatory dermatoses. Since then, 122 courses have been administered for the following conditions; scalp psoriasis (n = 36), nail dystrophies (n = 27), hyperkeratotic eczema/psoriasis (n = 22), palmoplantar pustulosis (n = 9), perianal pruritus (n = 9), warts (n = 4) and other conditions (n = 15).
AIM: To review all patients who received grenz rays in order to determine which conditions have been treated successfully and to estimate remission times.
METHOD: Patient notes were reviewed, and follow-up was supplemented by subsequent dermatology clinic letters and telephone consultation.
RESULTS: For scalp psoriasis, clearance was achieved with 13 courses, marked improvement with 19, minimal improvement in 3 and no change with 1. Treatment of palmoplantar psoriasis/hyperkeratotic eczema showed clearance with 7 courses, marked improvement with 9, minimal change with 2 and no change with 4. Of the courses for nail dystrophies (mainly psoriasis), clearance occurred with 1, marked improvement with 7, minimal change with 8 and no change with 11. In addition to immediate outcomes, the remission times were also evaluated. For scalp psoriasis, only 8 of the initial 32 patients still had clearance or marked improvement at the most recent follow-up. For nail dystrophy, 3 of 8 patients remained in remission, while for hyperkeratotic eczema/psoriasis, 7 of the initial 16 patients who had clearance or marked improvement had sustained this improvement, and only 1 patient with palmoplantar pustulosis still had clearance at the most recent follow-up.
CONCLUSIONS: Grenz ray therapy is an effective treatment for some chronic inflammatory skin conditions that are resistant to routine therapies. The period of remission for scalp psoriasis was good for some patients but disappointingly short for others. Future studies involving different cumulative doses with subsets of different dose fractionations may help optimize treatment regimens.