Vitiligo is a skin disorder characterized by a reduced presence - or total lack - of melanin in some areas of the skin. In the first case we speak of cutaneous hypopigmentation, while in the second case we speak of depigmentation.
The skin areas most affected by vitiligo are the nails and the areas of the eyes, genitals and anus, but can also affect the hands, face and neck.
A very important role in the etiology of vitiligo is played by an autoimmune component. In fact, the individual's defense cells react abnormally, attacking the melanocytes and altering their ability to produce melanin. However, the exact reason why this still occurs has not been fully clarified.
However, it appears that genetic predisposition plays an important role in the development of the disease.
The risk factors that could favor the appearance of vitiligo, on the other hand, are thyroid dysfunctions, stress, type 1 diabetes and Addison's disease.
The characteristic symptom of vitiligo is the appearance of white patches at the skin areas affected by the disease. Other symptoms that vitiligo patients may show are itching, pallor, gray hair, alopecia and exophthalmos.
Furthermore, individuals suffering from vitiligo are exposed to a greater risk of experiencing sunburn and sunburn, since their skin is completely or partially free of melanin.
Information on Vitiligo - Drugs for the Treatment of Vitiligo is not intended to replace the direct relationship between health professional and patient. Always consult your doctor and / or specialist before taking Vitiligo - Vitiligo Medication.
The first line pharmacological treatment undertaken against vitiligo is based on corticosteroids or topical immunosuppressive drugs.
Another type of treatment that can be undertaken to treat vitiligo is PUVA therapy. The latter is a particular type of therapy that is based on the oral (or topical) administration of particular photosensitizing substances - called psoralen - and on the subsequent irradiation of the patient with UV rays at certain wavelengths. The purpose of this treatment is to restore the activity of melanocytes previously compromised by the autoimmune response.
Finally, in some cases, the doctor may also consider transplanting melanocytes.
As mentioned, topical corticosteroids are among the drugs of first choice in the treatment of vitiligo. However, due to the serious side effects that they can cause (stretch marks, thinning of the skin and acne) their use must take place only under the strict control of the doctor.
Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can help the skin repigmentation process. However, their use is usually limited to cases of localized vitiligo.
Among the corticosteroids that can be used, we recall:
- Betamethasone (Beben ®, Ecoval ®, Diprosone ®): betamethasone is available for dermal administration in the form of creams, ointments, solutions, skin emulsions and gels. Generally, it is recommended to apply the product based on betamethasone for cutaneous use directly on the affected area 1-2 times a day. In any case, it is essential to follow the instructions given by the doctor carefully.
- Clobetasol (Clobesol ®, Olux ®): also clobetasol is available in different pharmaceutical formulations for cutaneous use. Usually, it is recommended to run one or two applications of product per day, directly on the affected area. However, even in this case, it is essential to follow the instructions provided by the doctor.
Topical immunosuppressants can also be used to combat vitiligo. These drugs work by suppressing the activity of the immune system and consequently decrease the autoimmune response towards melanocytes that characterizes vitiligo.
Among the active ingredients used, we find:
- Tacrolimus (Protopic ®): tacrolimus is usually used for the treatment of atopic dermatitis, but can also be used in therapy against vitiligo. It is available for topical administration as a cutaneous ointment. The product should be applied to the skin in a thin layer. The frequency of administration and the duration of treatment must be established by the doctor for each patient.
- Pimecrolimus (Elidel ®): also pimecrolimus - similar to tacrolimus - is normally used in the treatment of atopic dermatitis, but is also used in the treatment of vitiligo. It is available as a skin care cream that must be applied to the affected area once or twice a day. In any case, the exact dosage of the medicine must be established by the doctor, therefore, it is necessary to strictly adhere to the indications provided by it.