Occlusive Treatment Enhances Efficacy of Tacrolimus 0.1% Ointment in Adult Patients with Vitiligo: Results of a Placebo-controlled 12-month Prospective Study
Anke Hartmann, Eva-Bettina Bröcker, Henning Hamm
Topical tacrolimus was recently introduced as a novel therapeutic option in vitiligo. Excellent results were seen mainly on the face and neck areas. We treated 30 adult vitiligo patients with tacrolimus 0.1% ointment twice daily, and compared the results with those of placebo ointment. In 20 patients, defined areas on the right arm or leg were occluded overnight with 3 different dressings. Repigmentation was evaluated quantitatively and qualitatively. Quality of life changes were assessed with the Dermatology Life Quality Index. After 6 months, treatment was stopped in 7 of 30 patients as they did not show any repigmentation, 5 of them had no occlusive therapy. After 12 months, 17 of 21 patients (81%) with facial involvement showed repigmentation of the face. Although no or minimal repigmentation occurred on the extremities when using tacrolimus ointment alone, 80% of the patients showed repigmentation on the arms when using additional occlusive, especially hydrocolloid dressings. Hands, feet and lower legs were unresponsive. The best results were obtained in patients with long-standing vitiligo. Only minimal side-effects were noted. There was no significant elevation in tacrolimus blood levels, taking into account that occlusion was performed only on limited parts of the body. In conclusion, tacrolimus 0.1% ointment proved an effective and safe treatment option for adult patients with vitiligo. Beyond the face and neck areas, repigmentation could be achieved only by additional occlusion.