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Keywords:

  • betamethasone dipropionate;
  • calcipotriol;
  • localized vitiligo

Abstract

Background  Treatment of vitiligo is a challenge. Steroids are known to be effective but are associated with serious adverse effects. Many uncontrolled studies have shown calcipotriol to be a promising therapeutic modality in vitiligo.

Objective  To conduct a randomized trial to evaluate the effect of topical calcipotriol ointment (0.005%) and betamethasone dipropionate (0.05%) cream, given alone or in combination, in treatment of localized vitiligo.

Methods  Forty-nine patients with vitiligo affecting 5% of their skin were recruited. Patients were randomized into three groups. Group I patients were treated with betamethasone dipropionate (0.05%) cream twice daily. Group II patients were treated with calcipotriol ointment (0.005%) twice daily, and group III with betamethasone dipropionate (0.05%) in the morning and calcipotriol (0.005%) in the evening.

Results  Forty-five patients completed the study period of 3 months with 15 patients in each group. No patient achieved excellent (> 75%) pigmentation. Marked (50% to 75%) repigmentation was observed in 2 (13.3%), 1 (6.7%) and 4 (26.7%) patients in groups I, II and III, respectively. Moderate (25–50%) repigmentation was observed in 7 (46.7%), 5 (33.3%) and 7 (46.7%) patients in groups I, II and III, respectively. Patients with < 25% pigmentation were termed as minimal pigmentation or no response. The mean time for initial pigmentation to appear was 9.04 ± 2.0 weeks in group I, 10.18 ± 1.6 weeks in group II and 5.17 ± 2.4 weeks in group III (P < 0.01). The acquired pigmentation in the lesions was more stable in group III as compared with patients in groups II and I (P < 0.01). Side-effects in the form of atrophy and lesional burning sensations were more common in group I when compared with groups II and III (P < 0.05).

Conclusion  Combined therapy appeared to give a significantly faster onset of repigmentation along with better stability of the achieved pigmentation and with lesser number of side-effects.