News - 02 Oct `21COVID-19 treatments linked to vitiligo


Investigators in Brazil concluded that the severity of acute COVID-19 did not differ among patients with vitiligo, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and other skin diseases. However, different treatments were linked to specific changes in the course of skin diseases. 

  • Antimalarials and hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 were associated with clinical worsening of vitiligo. (Actually, antimalarials are oxidative drugs whose additional stress on melanocytes can influence active vitiligo.)
  • Oral corticosteroids for the treatment of vitiligo lead to greater clinical impairment.
  • Antihistamines for dermatological diseases were also associated with a longer symptomatic period in cases of acute COVID-19.
  • Investigators believe the use of oral glucocorticoids, which were used in cases of unstable vitiligo and chronic urticaria, indicated increased exacerbation caused by viral infection.

Overall, hospitalization due to COVID-19 did not differ between respondents with and without skin diseases, though a lower rate of hospitalization was noted for respondents with vitiligo who used oral antioxidants (e.g. vitamin E, vitamin C or Polypodium leucotomos). 


Further reading: Am I at higher risk of catching SARS-CoV-2 if I have vitiligo?


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