Phototherapy for the treatment of vitiligo in Asian children

Pediatr Dermatol. 2015 Mar-Apr;32(2):192-7. doi: 10.1111/pde.12506. Epub 2015 Jan 30.


Vitiligo is a common acquired progressive depigmenting condition that can have devastating psychological effects in dark-skinned patients. We performed a retrospective review of patients younger than 16 years of age with a clinical diagnosis of vitiligo treated using phototherapy at the National Skin Center, Singapore, over a 5-year period. Seventy-one Asian patients ages 5 to 15 years when they underwent phototherapy were identified. There was a higher proportion of Indian patients in our cohort than in the population. The duration of disease ranged from 2 months to 12 years. More than half of the patients had generalized vitiligo and more than one-third had segmental vitiligo. Patients with generalized vitiligo had a better response than those with segmental vitiligo. Reported response rates were highest for narrowband ultraviolet B (UVB) phototherapy, followed by targeted phototherapy combining ultraviolet A1 (UVA1) and UVB; 308-nm excimer lamp phototherapy and paint psoralen-UVA photochemotherapy had marginally lower reported response rates. The duration of treatment ranged from 3 to 40 months and the total number of treatments ranged from 20 to 209 sessions. Reported side effects were mild and included itching, scaling, erythema, pain, sunburn, blistering, and phototoxicity. We consider phototherapy to be a safe and efficacious modality for the treatment of vitiligo in Asian children.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asian People / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Ficusin / pharmacology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / adverse effects
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • PUVA Therapy / adverse effects
  • PUVA Therapy / methods*
  • Photochemotherapy / adverse effects
  • Photochemotherapy / methods*
  • Phototherapy / adverse effects
  • Phototherapy / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Singapore
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitiligo / diagnosis
  • Vitiligo / ethnology
  • Vitiligo / therapy*


  • Ficusin