Psoralen-ultraviolet A vs. narrow-band ultraviolet B phototherapy for the treatment of vitiligo

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2006 Feb;20(2):175-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2006.01413.x.


Background: Although many treatment modalities have been tried for the treatment of vitiligo, none is uniformly effective. Psoralen phototherapy (psoralen ultraviolet A (PUVA)) is established as efficacious treatment for vitiligo. Recently, narrow-band UVB (NBUVB) has been reported to be an effective and safe therapeutic option in patients with vitiligo.

Objective: To compare the efficacy of PUVA and NBUVB in the treatment of vitiligo.

Design and setting: Retrospective analysis of 69 patients with vitiligo who were treated either with PUVA or NBUVB at the pigmentary clinic of the Dermatology Department of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.

Outcome measures: The following variables were compared between the two groups of patients: repigmentation status, number of treatments for marked to complete repigmentation in existing lesions, appearance of new lesions or increase in size of existing lesions, adverse effect of therapy, stability of repigmentation and colour match.

Results: In PUVA-treated group, 9 patients showed marked to complete repigmentation (23.6%) and 14 patients showed moderate improvement (36.8%), whereas in NBUVB-treated group, 13 patients showed marked to complete repigmentation (41.9%) and 10 patients showed moderate improvement (32.2%). A statistically significantly better stability and colour match of repigmentation with surrounding skin was seen in NBUVB-treated patients.

Conclusion: We showed that NBUVB is more effective than PUVA and repigmentation induced with NBUVB is statistically significantly more stable.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methoxsalen / administration & dosage
  • Methoxsalen / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • PUVA Therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultraviolet Rays*
  • Vitiligo / drug therapy*
  • Vitiligo / pathology


  • Methoxsalen