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Managing Vitiligo Medically

Medical Treatment for Vitiligo

Medical treatments for this condition include:
  • Medicines (such as steroid creams) that you put on the skin
  • Medicine that you take by mouth
  • A treatment that uses medicine plus ultraviolet A (UVA) light (PUVA)
  • Removing the color from other areas so that they match the white patches.
Topical Steroid Medicine
Steroids may be helpful in repigmenting the skin (returning the color to white patches), particularly if started early in the disease. Corticosteroids are a group of drugs similar to the hormones produced by the adrenal glands (such as cortisone). Doctors often prescribe a mild topical corticosteroid cream for children under 10 years old and a stronger one for adults. Patients must apply the cream to the white patches on their skin for at least three months before seeing any results. It is the simplest and safest treatment, but not as effective as psoralen photochemotherapy. The doctor will closely monitor the patient for side effects, such as skin shrinkage and skin striae (streaks or lines on the skin).
Psoralen Photochemotherapy
Psoralen photochemotherapy (psoralen and ultraviolet A therapy, or PUVA) is probably the most beneficial treatment available for vitiligo in the United States. The goal of PUVA therapy is to repigment the white patches. However, it is time-consuming and care must be taken to avoid side effects, which can sometimes be severe. Psoralens are drugs that contain chemicals that react with ultraviolet light to cause darkening of the skin. This treatment involves taking psoralen by mouth or applying it to the skin. This is followed by carefully timed exposure to ultraviolet A (UVA) light from a special lamp or to sunlight. Patients usually receive treatments in their doctors' offices so that they can be carefully watched for any side effects. Patients must minimize exposure to sunlight at other times.

Vitiligo Skin Disorder

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