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Keywords:

  • clinical trial;
  • treatment;
  • vitamin D;
  • vitiligo

Summary

Background  Vitiligo is a common skin disease which is difficult to treat. Approximately half of patients acquire the disease before the age of 20 years. This disease has a high stigmatizing impact but no ideal, aetiology-oriented, effective therapy has been found to date. Tacalcitol and other vitamin D analogues have been shown to have stimulating activity both on immunomodulatory mediators and on melanocytes in lesional skin.

Objective  To investigate the efficacy and safety of tacalcitol ointment plus sunlight exposure in the treatment of nonsegmental vitiligo.

Methods  A single-centre, randomized, double-blind, vehicle-controlled study including 80 patients with nonsegmental vitiligo was carried out in a specialized outpatient dermatology clinic within a tertiary care, university-affiliated hospital in Spain. Efficacy was assessed by quantification of the lesional repigmentation area at the end of the study compared with the baseline. Tacalcitol (= 40) or matching placebo ointment (= 40) was applied once a day at night. Daily exposure to sunlight for 30 min was performed. Treatment was continued for 4 months. The response of the lesions was clinically verified every 2 weeks by a blinded medical investigator. All adverse effects were recorded.

Results  Eighty adult patients with nonsegmental vitiligo were recruited. Over 16 weeks, 64 patients completed the study requirements. There was no significant difference in the repigmentation response at the 16-week time point between the vehicle + sunlight exposure and the tacalcitol + sunlight exposure groups. No reduction in the size of the lesions > 25% was observed in the tacalcitol-treated patients. No serious adverse effects were observed.

Conclusion  The combination of tacalcitol with heliotherapy has no additional advantages compared with heliotherapy alone.