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Comparison between 308-nm monochromatic excimer light and narrowband UVB phototherapy (311–313 nm) in the treatment of vitiligo – a multicentre controlled study


*Corresponding author, Phototherapy Unit, S. Gallicano Institute – IRCCS, Via Elio Chianesi 53, 00144 Rome, Italy, tel. +39 06 52665982; fax +39 06 52665343; E-mail:


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.