Question 18. What does “treating vitiligo with catalase” mean?

Key points

  • Established medical treatments for systemic vitiligo are usually chosen for inducing local and/or systemic reduction of the immune system (=immune depression).
  • An alternative therapeutic option is based on the concept that instead of inducing local and/or systemic immunodepression in vitiligo subjects, one can introduce substances rich in catalase activity in order to protect melanocytes against the excessive oxidative stress.

Catalase is a substance well-known for its antioxidant properties.

It belongs to the group of oral and local antioxidants, which have been listed and discussed in the previous chapters. The subject is exhaustively discussed in the book “Natural Antioxidants in General Medicine and in Dermatology” , available as e-book for the VRF audience.

This substance is usually of natural origin and its use is combined with ultra violet irradiation of the skin. The Dead Sea climatotherapy associated with topical pseudocatalase seems to be as effective as the use of potent local corticosteroids in inducing repigmentation.

Thus, this issue should be discussed by the patients with their dermatologist before staring any active treatment with chemical drugs, which induce immune depression, keeping in mind that unfortunately defined dosing parameters and possible side effects have not been fully elucidated yet for those substances with catalase activity.

Author: Prof. Torello Lotti, MD

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