Gil Teva’s Web Site

A review of the web site and psoriasis claims of UVB lamp salesman Gil Teva.

Grade F

Gil Teva’s web site is an advertisement for the UVB lamps that he sells, and little more. He begins badly, by titling the page “Psoriasis cure lamp,” and then presenting a theory in which a vitamin D3 deficiency causes psoriasis.Well, there is no known cure for psoriasis right now (although UVB may knock it into remission), and psoriasis isnot caused by any known vitamin deficiency (although treatment with a vitamin D3 analog — not dietaryvitamins — may also knock it into remission — see calcipotriene).

Teva then claims that steroids and calcipotriene (Dovonex or Daivonex) both “work for some time and stop working after few months or years.” This is far from a universal truth. He says, “They have many dangerouse side effects.” True, but this is nothing more than a smear since he neglects to state that often, the truly dangerous side effects are fairly rare, or usually only show up after misuse of these drugs. In short, Teva is trying to promote the lamps he sells by bashing “the common medications for psoriasis.”

Teva then states that “tanning by special designed ultra violet lamps at home are the best solution for psoriasis.” This is a statement of opinion, and not of any medically-recognized fact that home UVB is “the best solution.” The reality is that many people with truly severe psoriasis would be greatly inconvenienced using the single-tube lamp Teva sells. It’s only two feet long, and so full-body treatments, by his guidelines (discussed below) would be fairly time-consuming and possibly dangerous.

He goes on to say that “curing does not ocur [sic] in a day,” as is well-known with professionally-administered UVB therapy. But he then goes back to the vitamin-D3 “theory,” claiming that it takes time because the skin only gradually “remembers” how to make the vitamin. All psoriasis treatments take some time. If nothing else, slowing down the turnover rate of the skin cells means it’ll take a little while to grow new and proper skin cells, instead of the poorly-made ones we’ve got in our plaques. And to show it’s not a cure, Teva then says that repeated treatment is required periodically to keep the psoriasis away (so the UVB doesn’t “fix” anything permanently — it’s not a “cure”).

Teva tells us that residents of the United States “must show a prescription,” although what makes him qualified to fill a prescription is unclear.

Teva says, “To believe what we claim we attach scientific articles that you can read,” and he lists eight articles:

Therapeutic options for psoriasis; Review and updateBroken Link — This articles reviews the “state of the art” in psoriasis treatment in 1998, and the author says that in his own experience, the “best” treatment for psoriasis is the Goeckerman regimen. Since this involves UVB, it may be why Teva includes this article. Teva does not, however, advocate the Goeckerman regimen himself (see below).

Experience with UVB phototherapy in childrenBroken Link — The last line of this article sums it up: “It appears that UVB phototherapy is a valuable and safe therapeutic option for selected children who do not respond to other treatments.” Of course, they mean properly-supervised phototherapy, and not Teva’s single-bulb home therapy.

An assessment of potential problems of home phototherapy treatment of psoriasis — This link takes you to an earlier version of Teva’s homepage, and not to an article with the above title.

Is UVB Administered in Phototherapy Carcinogenic?Broken Link — The answer appears to be, “not really.” From the article: “UVB remains one of the safest effective psoriasis treatments currently available.”

Systematic review of five systemic treatments for severe psoriasisBroken Link — UVB treatment comes in second to PUVA in this review of five treatments, meaning that Teva’s type of “special designed ultra violet lamps” are not, as he claims, “the best solution for psoriasis,” and he’s quite aware of it.

The influence of different salt solutions on ultraviolet-B induced skin erythema and delayed tanningBroken Link — This articles states that wetting the skin (with salt or tap water) can increase risk of sunburn. This “photosensitivity” is part of the reason many psoriatics find relief at the beach.

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1903Broken Link — Doctor Finsen won the Nobel Prize in 1903 for his work on curing lupus using concentrated ultraviolet light. Finsen basically ushered in the age of modern phototherapy. In this Nobel speech, not one mention of psoriasis is made at all, and I cannot find any resources that state which “other diseases” Finsen worked on.

Narrow-band (TL-01) ultraviolet B phototherapy for chronic plaque psoriasis: three times or five times?Broken Link — This article states that narrow-band UVB treatments are probably better off given only three times per week, instead of five times per week.

So, what do we have, above? We find an overall picture that UVB therapy for psoriasis is widely accepted, routinely used, and most assuredly not a “cure” or even “the best solution for psoriasis.” I think it’s important to note that Teva doesn’t provide us with even a single reference that psoriasis is caused by a vitamin defficiency in the skin, or that drug-based treatments are as nasty as he appears to want us to believe. In other words, he’s only showing us “scientific articles” that back up half of what he claims.

Teva says, “Also read this:”

Instructions for using the lampBroken Link — These instructions are almost a textbook example of what doesn’t happen in most office- or home-UVB treatments. Firstly, Teva tells us to use the lamp 15 minutes every day, and to change the distance between us and the lamp as we do more treatments. In typical UVB therapy, the time is started out low and then increased, while the distance remains about the same. The bigger problem here is that Teva expects a person to be able to hold a two-foot UVB tube at a precise distance from the body. This seems to me to be a ludicrous idea.

The glasses Teva sells don’t appear, to me, to wrap around enough to protect the whole eye. UVB is fairly dangerous to eyesight. If you decide to buy Teva’s tube, try to find some better UVB-blocking eye protection.

And another problem exists with the final line on this page: “After using the lamp (not before) put yourself small amount of the tar oil. The prevent the drying of the skin and the tar increases the effect of the light.” What “tar oil” is he discussing here? His page now only mentions the tube and the glasses, although it used to mention that you’d also get a container of coal tar for your $350. Besides that, the Goeckerman regimen (see above), has the patient putting on coal tar before light exposure. Tar is a photosensitizer, like salt water (also see above). Putting it on afterwards does not increase the effect of the light, that I’ve ever read. Tar is also a perfectly good psoriasis treatment by itself, and Teva might be trying to imply, here, that it’s little more than a moisturizer.

Why do I sell UVB lamps?Broken Link — This is a good question. Unfortunately, I hear stories like Teva’s all the time, but few of the people who have found a really good treatment for their psoriasis go on to sell said treatment. If he sells his lamps because that’s what he feels he needs to do to “spread the word” about UVB, that’s fine. He should just sell them more responsibly.

Specifications of the lampBroken Link — The specifications seem okay to me, but Teva uses this page to also say, “there are no side effects.” What does he call the burning that he knows can happen? Not everyone responds well to UVB, and some even get worse when using it. “There are no side effects” is simply untrue.

Overall, Teva is unqualified to sell UVB equipment, and shows himself to be unqualified to offer advice about UVB treatments. He mixes scientific facts with wild speculation, and offers little to support the results.

UVB therapy, in a dermatologist’s office or at home, is often a very effective method for treating moderate-to-severe psoriasis. But, one should always be supervised by a qualified physician, and use the best equipment possible (manufactured and sold by reliable companies). The $350 Teva asks for could (and should) be better spent.

May 2, 2009, Update: Teva’s web site has vanished.