Treatment Guidelines

Vitiligo is incurable but manageable disease. The treatment options have undergone a sea change over the past decade. However, there is no universally effective drug or even a common viewpoint on vitiligo therapy at present, due to extreme variability of the disease and environmental conditions. 

Consensus treatment guidelines are offered at national or regional levels (PubMed). Efficiency of various therapeutic modalities depends on the age of patient and time since disease onset, skin photo type, genetic background and a number of yet unknown factors.

Basics

Therapeutic regimens for vitiligo include phototherapy with optional psoralens, climatotherapy, topical or systemic corticosteroids, used with or without skin abrasion, a variety of surgical techniques to transplant melanocytes from pigmented skin to nonpigmenting areas. Cosmetic camouflage is also useful to disguise the white areas of skin. Depigmentation is the last line therapy for patients with extensive vitiligo who fail to respond or are unwilling to undergo treatment, but spontaneous regimentation of depigmented areas is not uncommon.

In our studies it was shown that certain immunomodulators could be effective at stopping vitiligo progression. However, even after successful therapy, disease relapse may happen within weeks or years. Evidence suggests that an average relapse time is 4-7 years that may be extended with personalized diet and lifestyle suggestions.

The selection of patients for therapy should take into consideration the patient’s motivation, the psychological impact of the disease and the clinical presentation of vitiligo, and should weigh the risks and benefits of prolonged therapy.

Learn More

Throughout different presentations offered at Master Classes on Vitiligo, we review features, benefits, side-effects and costs of potential interventions. In addition to our FAQ, new evidence-based guidelines are now being developed by VR Foundation to offer a practical handbook for use by clinicians in different settings.

To help you navigate the sea of vitiligo treatments and products, we begin a new REVIEWS section in early 2016. In the meantime, feel free to sign up to our monthly newsletter and you are guaranteed to receive the most recent and relevant information on vitiligo.

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