Home vs hospital narrowband UVB treatment by a hand-held unit for new-onset vitiligo: A pilot randomized controlled study

Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2020 Jan;36(1):14-20. doi: 10.1111/phpp.12495. Epub 2019 Jun 27.


Purpose: To compare the efficacy and safety of narrowband ultraviolet B (NB-UVB) phototherapy in home vs in hospital for the management of limited new-onset vitiligo.

Methods: Patients with new-onset vitiligo (<3 months) with <5% body surface area involvement were recruited and randomly assigned to either a home-based or a hospital-based treatment group. Both groups were administered NB-UVB phototherapy thrice a week. The body surface area (BSA) involved with vitiligo, Vitiligo Area Scoring Index (VASI), the effectiveness of repigmentation, Vitiligo Quality of Life index (VitiQoL), and the cost of treatment were examined.

Results: A total of 100 patients completed the study. Patients in both groups exhibited improvements demonstrated by BSA and VSAI decrease. No significant differences were found between the two groups in terms of skin repigmentation (P > 0.05). Improvements in the VitiQoL scores were reduced to the greatest degree at week 8 for all patients in both groups. Adverse events, such as painful erythema, burning, blistering, and excessive hyperpigmentation, were more frequently observed in the home-based treatment group than in the hospital-based treatment group. The cost of phototherapy in hospital exceeded the cost of home phototherapy after 7 weeks of treatment.

Conclusions: Home NB-UVB phototherapy treatment was as effective as treatment in hospital, but exhibited cost-effective and a better compliance. However, the education of the patients should be strengthened to avoid excessive UVB exposure and related adverse events.

Keywords: home phototherapy; narrowband ultraviolet B; vitiligo.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperpigmentation / economics
  • Hyperpigmentation / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life*
  • Ultraviolet Therapy / economics*
  • Vitiligo* / economics
  • Vitiligo* / radiotherapy