Vitiligo is a common skin disease in which there is loss of pigment from areas of the skin resulting in irregular white spots or patches.
Vitiligo is an acquired, hypomelanotic disease, characterized by circumscribed depigmented macules. Phototherapy, which is the use of ultraviolet irradiation with or without exogenous photosensitizer is a well established treatment option. Psoralens with sunlight as the source of ultraviolet A-rays is known as PUVASOL. Narrow band Ultraviolet B phototherapy (NBUVB; 311–313 nm) has been introduced over the past decade.
To study the clinical effectiveness and assess the safety of NBUVB and PUVASOL therapy in Vitiligo patients.
The patients were randomly allocated in to two groups containing 25 patients each. Group A patients received NBUVB with an initial dose of 250 mJ/cm2, incremented by 20% with each subsequent visit till optimum dose was achieved, twice a week on non-consecutive days. Group B patients received PUVASOL-oral Trimethylpsoralen or topical 0.2% w/w Trioxsalen followed by exposure to sunlight, twice a week on non-consecutive days. The extent of repigmentation was documented at regular intervals upto 6 months.
Amongst patients receiving NBUVB and PUVASOL, 56% and 48% had ≥50% repigmentation respectively. Disease was unstable in 48% and 36% of patients prior to commencement of therapy which reduced to 12% and 16% after therapy, respectively. 16% and 36% of the patients experienced side effects and 76% and 48% showed excellent colour match of the repigmented patches respectively.
While both PUVASOL and NBUVB are both good therapeutic options; NBUVB therapy is found to be more effective and more cosmetically acceptable, with better colour matching of lesions and minimal adverse effects.