Narrow-band UV-B micro-phototherapy: a new treatment for vitiligo

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2003 Mar;17(2):171-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1468-3083.2003.00743.x.


Background: Vitiligo is a common, acquired, often familial, melanocytopenic disorder with focal depigmentation of the skin. There are several new treatments, that appear to have higher success rates than previous therapies for the treatment of vitiligo. Among these, the most promising one appears to be narrow-band UV-B therapy.

Objective: The aim of this open study is to evaluate the efficacy of the BIOSKIN micro-phototherapy in the treatment of vitiligo in 734 patients.

Subjects and methods: Seven hundred and thirty-four individuals affected by vitiligo (segmental and non-segmental) were treated for 12 months with a new device called BIOSKIN that can produce a focused beam of narrow UV-B (microphoto-therapy) on vitiligo patches only. Photographs of the subjects were taken at the beginning of the therapy and every month thereafter for 12 months. The response to treatment was estimated in two comparable photographs using planimetry. The duration of the clinical study was of 2 years and 8 months. At the end of this period 734 patients had received each a mean of 24 sessions of treatment during a period of 12 months.

Results: Five hundred and ten subjects (69.48%) of the 734 achieved normal pigmentation on more than 75% of the treated areas. In particular, 112 of these were totally repigmented. One hundred and fifty-five (21.12%) individuals achieved 50-75% pigmentation of the treated areas, and 69 (9.40%) showed less than 50% repigmentation. No patients showed acute or chronic relevant adverse effects.

Conclusion: BIOSKIN UV-B microphototherapy seems highly effective in restoring pigmentation in patients affected by vitiligo. As no side-effects have been observed, this could represent the treatment of choice for vitiligo limited to less than 30% of the skin surface.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultraviolet Therapy / instrumentation
  • Ultraviolet Therapy / methods*
  • Vitiligo / radiotherapy*