Treatment of vitiligo with narrowband-UVB (TL01) combined with tacrolimus ointment (0.1%) vs. placebo ointment, a randomized right/left double-blind comparative study

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Abstract

Background

Only a few, small double-blind clinical trials have been reported for the treatment of vitiligo. Narrowband-ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) is an established form of treatment for this condition. Tacrolimus ointment is assumed to have an effect in some patients.

Objectives

To assess the additive effect of tacrolimus ointment (0.1%) once daily in vitiligo patients treated with NB-UVB.

Methods

In a randomized double-blind trial, patients with stable symmetrical vitiligo were treated half-side with tacrolimus ointment (0.1%) and half-side with placebo ointment. Whole body NB-UVB was given twice or thrice weekly for at least 3 months. As a morphometric device, VisitrakTM was used to measure the area of the vitiligo target lesions.

Results

Of 40 patients, 27 had a better effect on the tacrolimus side. The degree of improvement was significantly better on the tacrolimus side (P= 0.005). The median reduction in the target lesion areas was 42.1% on the tacrolimus side and 29% on the placebo side. There was a correlation between the effect and the number of topical tacrolimus applications (P= 0.044), but there was no correlation with the number of UV treatments given; neither any significance of gender, age, skin type, duration of disease, familial occurrence of vitiligo nor presence of other autoimmune disease or atopy was observed. We found a significant reduction in the patients’ subjective disease impact during the treatment period (P< 0.001).

Conclusion

According to this study, the combination of NB-UVB and tacrolimus ointment (0.1%) is more effective than UV treatment alone in patients with vitiligo. The effect is tacrolimus total dose-dependent.

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