Background Vitiligo is an acquired pigmentary disorder characterized by areas of depigmented skin resulting from loss of epidermal melanocytes. Recently, it has been shown that narrowband ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) phototherapy may be more effective than psoralen and ultraviolet A (PUVA) photochemotherapy in treating vitiligo, and that 308-nm monochromatic excimer light (MEL) may present some advantages as compared to NB-UVB for the treatment of vitiligo.
Aim The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of NB-UVB phototherapy and 308-nm MEL in vitiligo patients.
Methods The study was done in a randomized, investigator-blinded and half-side comparison design. Twenty-one subjects with symmetrical vitiligo lesions were enrolled in this study. Vitiligo lesions on one body side were treated twice weekly for 6 months with 308-nm MEL, while NB-UVB phototherapy was used to treat lesions on the opposite side.
Results At the end of the study six lesions (37.5%) treated with 308-nm MEL and only one lesion (6%) treated with NB-UVB achieved an excellent repigmentation (score 4) while four lesions (25%) treated with 308-nm MEL and five lesions (31%) treated with NB-UVB showed a good repigmentation (score 3).
Conclusions It appears that 308-nm MEL is more effective than NB-UVB in treating vitiligo lesions and it induces repigmentation more rapidly.