Psoralen and ultraviolet A and narrow-band ultraviolet B in inducing stability in vitiligo, assessed by vitiligo disease activity score: an open prospective comparative study

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2007 Nov;21(10):1381-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2007.02283.x.


Background: Vitiligo is a common pigmentary disorder with great cosmetic and psychological morbidity and an unpredictable course. No treatment available is a definitive cure. Systemic psoralen and ultraviolet A (PUVA) has been the mainstay of treatment. Narrow-band UVB (NBUVB) was later introduced. In this study, we have compared the phototherapy modalities PUVA and NBUVB in inducing stability in vitiligo, assessed by using vitiligo disease activity score (VIDA), for the first time.

Aims: To investigate the position of NBUVB vis-à-vis PUVA in terms of stability achieved during therapy as indicated by the VIDA scores.

Subjects and methods: It was an open, prospective study of 50 patients divided equally in PUVA and NBUVB groups. The study period was from January 2004 to June 2005. This study was done as a part of a larger project to compare the efficacy of mentioned modalities in degree of repigmentation.

Results: In the NBUVB group, disease activity was present in 40% patients before commencement of therapy, which was reduced to 16% at the end of therapy (statistically significant, P = 0.049). In the PUVA group, similar figures were 20% and 16%, respectively. In the NBUVB group, 50% of patients whose disease was active prior to commencement of therapy had less than 50% repigmentation, whereas an equal number of patients had repigmentation of more than 50%. Almost an equal number of stable patients had less than and more than 50% repigmentation. In the PUVA group, 4 of the 5 (80%) patients who had active disease had less than 50% repigmentation, whereas only 1 patient (20%) with active disease obtained more than 50% repigmentation. The time to attain stability was 3.6 +/- 2.1 months in the NBUVB group and 3.22 +/- 3.1 months in the PUVA group. Eight of the 10 (80%) patients with unstable disease in the NBUVB group achieved stability, whereas 2 of the 5 (40%) patients of similar pre-treatment status in the PUVA group achieved stability.

Conclusion: NBUVB was in a more statistically advantageous position vis-à-vis PUVA, in respect to stability achieved and efficacy in both active and stable disease in a comparable time period.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Ficusin / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • PUVA Therapy / methods*
  • Photosensitizing Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultraviolet Therapy / methods*
  • Vitiligo / drug therapy*
  • Vitiligo / radiotherapy*


  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Ficusin