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Current and emerging therapy for the management of vitiligo

Authors Borderé AC, Lambert J, Geel N

Published 12 March 2009 Volume 2009:2 Pages 15—25


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Alicia Cecile Borderé, Jo Lambert, Nanny van Geel

University Hospital of Ghent, Department of Dermatology, Ghent, Belgium

Abstract: Vitiligo is an acquired cutaneous disorder of pigmentation, with an incidence of 0.5% to 2% worldwide. There are three major hypotheses for the pathogenesis of vitiligo that are not exclusive of each other: biochemical/cytotoxic, neural and autoimmune. Recent data provide strong evidence supporting an autoimmune pathogenesis of vitiligo. As vitiligo can have a major effect on quality of life, treatment can be considered and should preferably begin early when the disease is active. Current treatment modalities are directed towards stopping progression of the disease and achieving repigmentation. Therapies include corticosteroids, topical immunomodulators, photo(chemo)therapy, surgery, combination therapies and depigmentation of normally pigmented skin. Topical class 3 corticosteroids can be used for localized vitiligo. The use of topical immunomodulators (TIMs) in vitiligo seems to be equally effective as topical steroids, especially when used in the face and neck region. In photo(chemo)therapy, narrowband ultraviolet-B therapy (NB-UVB) seems to be superior to psoralen ultraviolet-A therapy (PUVA) and broadband UVB. In surgical techniques, split-thickness grafting and epidermal blister grafting were shown to be effective methods, although the non-cultured epidermal suspension technique has many advantages and seems to be a promising development. Depigmentation therapy can be considered if vitiligo affects more than 60% to 80% of the body. Complementary therapies such as Polypodium leucotomos show promising results in combination with UVB therapy. No causative treatment for vitiligo is currently available. More randomized controlled trials on the treatment of vitiligo are necessary.

Keywords: vitiligo, non-surgical treatment, surgical treatment

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