To compare the efficacy of combined tacrolimus and 308-nm excimer laser therapy vs 308-nm excimer laser monotherapy in treating vitiligo.
Comparative, prospective, randomized, intraindividual study.
Fourteen patients, aged 12 to 63 years, with Fitzpatrick skin types II to IV.
For each patient, 4 to 10 target lesions were chosen. The treatment applied to each target lesion was randomized by drawing lots. Each lesion was treated twice a week by the 308-nm excimer laser, for a total of 24 sessions. Initial fluences were 12 mcal/cm2 (50 mJ/cm2) less than the minimal erythemal dose in vitiliginous skin. Then, fluences were increased by 12 mcal/cm2 every second session. Moreover, topical 0.1% tacrolimus ointment was applied twice daily on target lesions receiving the combined tacrolimus and excimer laser treatment (group A). Group B target lesions received only excimer laser monotherapy. For each treated lesion, the untreated lesion on the opposite side served as the control. Tolerance was evaluated by a visual analog scale, and secondary events were recorded at each session.
Main Outcome Measure
Treatment efficacy, which was blindly evaluated by 2 independent physicians by direct and polarized light photographs taken before and after treatment.
Forty-three lesions were treated (23 in group A and 20 in group B). All patients completed the study. Repigmentation was observed in all group A lesions (100%) and in 17 (85%) of the 20 group B lesions. Repigmentation was not observed in the untreated lesions (control group). A repigmentation rate of 75% or more was obtained in 16 (70%) of the 23 group A lesions and in 4 (20%) of the 20 group B lesions. In UV-sensitive areas (the face, neck, trunk, and limbs, with the exception of bony prominences and extremities), 10 (77%) of 13 group A lesions had a repigmentation rate of 75% or more vs 4 (57%) of 7 group B lesions. In classically UV-resistant areas, 6 (60%) of 10 group A lesions had a repigmentation rate of 75% or more vs 0 of the 13 group B lesions. The mean number of sessions necessary for an improvement of repigmentation was 10 in group A and 12 in group B. Adverse effects have been limited, and tolerance was excellent.
The combination treatment of 0.1% tacrolimus ointment plus the 308-nm excimer laser is superior to 308-nm excimer laser monotherapy for the treatment of UV-resistant vitiliginous lesions (P<.002). The efficacy and the good tolerance of the 308-nm excimer laser in monotherapy for treating localized vitiligo were also confirmed, but this treatment regimen should be proposed only for UV-sensitive areas.