Topical vitiligo treatment
Researchers based at the Tufts Medical Centre in Boston, USA, presented their findings recently at the World Congress of Dermatology in Italy. Their phase II clinical trial investigated topical application of ruxolitinib for the treatment of vitiligo.
Ruxolitinib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor which is given orally for certain haematological disorders such as polycythaemia vera. Vitiligo is an auto-immune disorder characterised by a loss of epidermal melanocytes, leading to the development of well defined, hypopigmented macules. This disease affects about 1% of the global population, being most noticeable in people with darker skin types. It can result in stigmatisation of patients, with resultant psychosocial distress.
This randomised controlled trial enrolled 157 patients from 30 different sites in the United States over two years. There was a statistically significant improvement in facial vitiligo in 50% of patients using the highest dose, compared to 3% in the placebo group. Adverse effects included local irritation and redness.