Update on skin repigmentation therapies in vitiligo


Rafael Falabella, e-mail: rfalabella@uniweb.net.co


Treatment for vitiligo is difficult and prolonged. Nevertheless, at present considerable knowledge accumulated during several decades on the pathogenic mechanisms, revealed important clues for designing new strategies to improve vitiligo depigmentation. With available medical therapies, high repigmentation percentages mostly on facial and neck lesions are achieved, although they are less effective on trunk and limbs and poor on the acral parts of the extremities. Narrow band UVB and psoralens and UVA are the two most important treatments for generalized vitiligo affecting more than 10–20% of the cutaneous surface, and topical corticosteroids, or calcineurin inhibitors are the most valuable treatments for localized vitiligo. Persistence of achieved regimentation is variable and an undefined percentage of patients may have variable recurrence. When vitiligo becomes refractory, surgical methods may improve depigmentation as effectively as with medical therapy; in segmental (unilateral) or long standing, non-segmental (bilateral) stable vitiligo, repigmentation with surgical methods is usually permanent.