Narrowband UVB therapy for vitiligo: does the repigmentation last?
Sitek JC1, Loeb M, Ronnevig JR.
Department of Dermatology, Ulleval University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.
Since 1997, a number of trials have shown promising results in treating generalized vitiligo with narrowband ultraviolet B (UVB) both in adults and children. However, there is little knowledge concerning the duration and permanency of the treatment-induced repigmentation.
Our main objective was to perform a follow-up trial of successfully treated patients receiving narrowband UVB for generalized vitiligo.
We have investigated to what degree the treatment-induced repigmentation remains stable for up to 2 years post-treatment. We performed an initial open trial including 31 patients with generalized vitiligo. They received narrowband UVB thrice weekly for up to 12 months. Patients experiencing > 75% repigmentation were defined responders and were included in the follow-up trial. Responders were followed every 6 months for up to 2 years after cessation of treatment. We observed the pigmentation status and registered any changes indicating loss of pigmentation and relapse.
Eleven of the 31 treated patients were included in the follow-up trial. Six patients had relapse and five patients had stable response 24 months after cessation of treatment. Four out of six relapses were within 6 months post-treatment.
In our study population of 31 patients with generalized vitiligo, five patients (16%) experienced > 75% stable repigmentation 2 years after cessation of a treatment programme of up to 1 years narrowband UVB therapy.