Narrow-band UVB311 nm vs. broad-band UVB therapy in combination with topical calcipotriol vs. placebo in vitiligo

Int J Dermatol. 2005 Sep;44(9):736-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2004.02154.x.


Background: Recently, it has been shown that UVB phototherapy may be more effective than UVA in the treatment of vitiligo. Currently, however, no studies have compared the efficacy of UVB311 nm and broad-band UVB therapy. Calcipotriol has recently been reported to be effective adjunctive treatment for vitiligo, enhancing the efficacy of 8-methoxypsoralen plus UVA (PUVA) therapy.

Methods: Ten patients were enrolled in the study; nine completed the 12 months of therapy. The upper part of the body was treated twice weekly with UVB311 nm and the lower part with broad-band UVB. Calcipotriol was applied onto the vitiligo lesions of the right side of the body and placebo on the left side. Repigmentation was documented by photography, planimetry, and Vitiligo Disease Activity (VIDA) score. The quality of life was measured by the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI).

Results: After 7-16 weeks, six of the nine patients showed initial repigmentation on the side treated with UVB311 nm. After 6 months of treatment, none of the patients showed repigmentation on the areas treated with broad-band UVB, which prompted us to apply UVB311 nm all over the body. At the end of 12 months, two patients showed > 75% repigmentation, two showed 51-75%, two showed 26-50%, and three showed 0-25%. In all patients with progressive vitiligo (seven of the nine patients), disease activity was stopped. Remarkably, vitiligo lesions treated with calcipotriol initially showed delayed repigmentation compared with control areas; however, there was no therapeutic difference between calcipotriol and placebo, both in combination with UVB311 nm, by the end of the study. The DLQI score improved significantly by an average of 28%. Conclusion UVB311 nm therapy was effective in the treatment of vitiligo, whereas broad-band UVB had no effect. Combination with calcipotriol ointment was not superior to UVB311 nm monotherapy. The quality of life significantly improved with narrow-band UVB311 nm phototherapy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adult
  • Calcitriol / administration & dosage
  • Calcitriol / adverse effects
  • Calcitriol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Calcitriol / therapeutic use
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Dermatologic Agents / adverse effects
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Erythema / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebos
  • Pruritus / etiology
  • Quality of Life
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultraviolet Therapy / adverse effects
  • Ultraviolet Therapy / methods*
  • Vitiligo / drug therapy*
  • Vitiligo / radiotherapy*


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Placebos
  • calcipotriene
  • Calcitriol