Tetrahydrocurcuminoid cream plus targeted narrowband UVB phototherapy for vitiligo: a preliminary randomized controlled study

Photomed Laser Surg. 2010 Oct;28(5):679-84. doi: 10.1089/pho.2009.2637.


Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of targeted narrowband UVB phototherapy plus topical tetrahydrocurcuminoid with that of targeted narrowband UVB monotherapy for induction of repigmentation in vitiligo.

Background data: The 308-nm excimer laser and targeted narrowband UVB phototherapy have recently been shown to be effective in repigmenting vitiligo. Studies have suggested that the combination of the 308-nm excimer laser and various topical treatments is more effective than UV monotherapy in the treatment of vitiligo.

Materials and methods: Ten subjects with focal or generalized vitiligo were enrolled in this study. Two similar lesions were treated with either targeted narrowband UVB plus topical tetrahydrocurcuminoid cream or targeted UVB alone. The UV treatments were carried out twice a week for 12 weeks. The degree of repigmentation, documented by monthly digital photography, was assessed by a blinded dermatologist.

Results: On completion of the study, statistically significant repigmentation, compared with baseline, occurred in both treatment groups. The overall degree of repigmentation was slightly better in the combination group at 8 and 12 weeks (p = 0.078 and 0.158 respectively). Adverse effects were minor and well tolerated.

Conclusion: Targeted narrowband UVB phototherapy plus topical tetrahydrocurcuminoid cream was slightly more effective than targeted narrowband UVB monotherapy for vitiligo located in UV-sensitive areas. However, the differences in degrees of repigmentation did not reach statistically significant levels.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Curcumin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Curcumin / therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Emollients / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Reference Values
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Skin Pigmentation / drug effects
  • Skin Pigmentation / radiation effects*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultraviolet Therapy / methods*
  • Vitiligo / diagnosis
  • Vitiligo / drug therapy*
  • Vitiligo / radiotherapy*


  • Emollients
  • tetrahydrocurcumin
  • Curcumin