Interventions for vitiligo.

M. E. Whitton, D. M. Ashcroft, C. W. Barrett, U. Gonzalez

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    BACKGROUND: Around 1% of the world's population has vitiligo, which causes a loss of skin colour in patches. The methods currently available to treat vitiligo are largely unsatisfactory and vary widely between cultures and within health systems. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effects of interventions used to manage vitiligo. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Skin Group Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, EMBASE, AMED and other databases (last searched September 2004). Reference lists of articles and conference proceedings were searched. Authors of reviews were contacted. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs). DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: At least two reviewers independently assessed study eligibility and methodological quality and carried out data extraction. The included studies compared different interventions and used different outcome measures so we considered it inappropriate to combine their results. MAIN RESULTS: Nineteen trials with a total of 1350 participants were included. The RCTs generally had low numbers of participants and only RCTs of repigmentation and not other methods of managing vitiligo were able to be included.In one study, potent topical steroids resulted in better repigmentation than placebo and they were also better than oral psoralens plus sunlight in another study (RR 4.70 95% CI 1.14 to 19.39) although their long-term use is limited by adverse effects. Two studies suggested that topical calcipotriol enhanced repigmentation rates from PUVAsol and PUVA when compared with placebo. Another two studies showed higher repigmentation rates with oral PUVAsol versus placebo plus sunlight (RR 19.20 95% CI 1.21 to 304.50 in 79 adults and RR 2.29 95% CI 1.14 to 4.58 in a study of 50 children). The safety of these interventions was poorly described and none of the studies was able to demonstrate long term benefits. Very few studies were carried out on children or included segmental vitiligo. No trials evaluating micropigmentation, melanocyte transplantation, depigmentation or cosmetic camouflage could be found. Despite the fact that the main impact of vitiligo is psychosocial only one study on psychological therapy was found and it is awaiting assessment. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: This review has found some evidence to support existing therapies for vitiligo, but the different designs and outcome measurements, lack of quality of life measures and adverse effect reporting in the studies limit the usefulness of their findings. There is a pressing need for high quality randomised trials using standardised measures of repigmentation and which address relevant clinical outcomes including quality of life.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)CD003263
    JournalCochrane database of systematic reviews (Online : Update Software)
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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