Objective: To assess the effect and safety of NB-UVB for vitiligo using an evidence-based approach.
Methods: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the treatment of vitiligo with NB-UVB were identified by searching PubMed and the Cochrane Library. The primary outcome was re-pigmentation degree.
Results: A total of seven RCTs involving 232 participants with vitiligo were included in this systematic review. The methodological qualities of included studies were generally moderate. Two trials compared narrow-band ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) with UVA control, showing no significant differences between two methods on the number of patients who achieved >60% re-pigmentation [relative risk (RR) = 2.50, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.11-56.97, p > 0.05]. Two trials compared NB-UVB with psoralens plus UVA (PUVA) control, and no difference was seen between the two treatments on the number of patients who achieved >50 re-pigmentation (RR = 1.16, 95% CI: 0.64-2.11, p > 0.05) or >75% re-pigmentation (RR = 2.00, 95% CI: 0.89-4.48, p > 0.05). Three trials compared NB-UVB with 308-nm excimer light/laser (EL) control, and again no significant difference was found between the two methods (p > 0.05). The adverse events of NB-UVB in the included studies were slight and tolerated.
Conclusion: NB-UVB showed equivalent efficacies to UVA, PUVA or 308-nm EL control in the treatment of vitiligo. Side effects of NB-UVB were acceptable. More RCTs were needed to validate the results.
Keywords: Randomized controlled trials; UVB; vitiligo.