The relationship between family medical history and childhood vitiligo

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The association between a family history of vitiligo and other autoimmune/endocrine diseases and increased incidence of childhood vitiligo has been described; however, the influence of family history on the clinical characteristics of childhood vitiligo has rarely been investigated.


We sought to examine the relationship between family history and the incidence, extent, and course of childhood vitiligo.


A retrospective chart review and telephone interviews were performed for 137 pediatric patients with vitiligo and 140 control patients (patients with acne, warts, or molluscum contagiosum matched in age, sex, and ethnicity to the study group). Information about the age, sex, ethnicity, age of onset and diagnosis, site of onset, distribution, treatment, course of disease, and family history was obtained.


Patients with vitiligo and an extended family history of vitiligo were more likely to have an earlier age of onset of disease than those with a negative family history (odds ratio = 3.70, P = .024). There was no association between family history and site of onset, distribution, or course of disease.


A relatively small sample size, recall bias, disease misclassification, and confounding factors are potential limitations of this study.


Earlier onset of pediatric vitiligo is linked to a family history of vitiligo. Awareness of this association can allow for closer monitoring, earlier detection, and earlier initiation of treatment.

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