Combo of phototherapy, drug results in faster repigmentation in vitiligo

September 17, 2014

Bottom Line: Patients with the skin depigmentation disease known as vitiligo had faster and better repigmentation after a combination therapy of the implantable drug afamelanotide and narrowband UV-B (NB-UV-B) phototherapy as part of a clinical trial.

Author: Henry W. Lim, M.D., of Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Mich., and colleagues.

Background: Vitiligo is characterized by white patches of skin and affects 1 percent to 2 percent of the population. The authors report the results of a multicenter randomized clinical trial comparing the safety and effectiveness of the combination therapy with the phototherapy alone in 55 patients.

How the Study Was Conducted: The study was performed in two academic outpatient dermatology centers and one private dermatology office. The combination therapy group included 28 patients and the NB-UV-B monotherapy group had 27 patients assigned.

Results: Results were better in the combination therapy group than in the monotherapy group at day 56. For the face and upper extremities, more patients achieved repigmentation at a faster rate (face, 41 vs. 61 days; upper extremities, 46 vs. 69 days). In the combination therapy group, repigmentation was 48.64 percent at day 168 compared with 33.26 percent in the monotherapy group.

Discussion: "The results of this study offer hope to patients with vitiligo in the treatment of this disfiguring disease."
(JAMA Dermatology. Published online September 17, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.1875. Available pre-embargo to the media at

Editor's Note: An author made a conflict of interest disclosure. This study was supported by Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Media Advisory: To contact author Henry W. Lim, M.D., call David Olejarz at 313-874-4094 or email

To place an electronic embedded link to this study in your story The link for this study will be live at the embargo time:

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