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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 83  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 625-

Retrospective study on the characteristics and treatment of late-onset vitiligo

1 National Skin Centre, Singapore
2 Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore
3 National Skin Centre; Skin Research Institue of Singapore, ASTAR, Singapore

Correspondence Address:
Tien Guan Thng
National Skin Centre, 1 Mandalay Road, 308205
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijdvl.IJDVL_650_16

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Background: Late-onset vitiligo, defined as being aged 50 years and above at the point of clinical onset, remains poorly characterized till now. Aim: This study aims to describe the clinical characteristics and treatment response of patients with late-onset vitiligo. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the case records of all patients diagnosed with late-onset vitiligo, from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2014. Information obtained included patient demographics, characteristics of vitiligo and treatment responses. Results: Of the 3128 patients diagnosed with vitiligo over the 5-year period, 461 (14.7%) had late-onset disease. The study had more females (n = 260, 56.4%) than males, with an average onset age of 59.4 ± 7.4 years. Majority of patients were Chinese (n = 308, 66.8%) and 45 (9.8%) patients had an associated autoimmune disease. Focal vitiligo, defined as the localized presence of depigmented patches, was most common (n = 209, 45.3%). Treatment response was evaluated in 359 patients, of which 216 received monotherapy (topical creams: n = 210, 97.2%; phototherapy: n = 6, 2.8%) and 143 received both modalities. Fifty six (15.6%) patients received oral steroids. Patients who were treated with both topical creams and phototherapy yielded better clinical responses compared to those on monotherapy (P < 0.001) with 56.6% (n = 81) of them achieving good epidermal repigmentation, defined as >50% return of pigmentation compared to baseline (vs. n = 66, 30.6% in the monotherapy group). The choice of phototherapy (targeted, narrowband ultraviolet B or psoralen + ultraviolet A) did not significantly affect clinical response (P = 0.774). Limitations: This study is limited by its retrospective nature, the nonstandardized documentation resulting in the inability to determine disease progression and associated metabolic comorbidities and also by the gradual loss to follow-up of patients. Conclusion: Late-onset vitiligo is not uncommon and tends to be of the focal vitiligo subtype. Nonsegmented vitiligo is more prevalent than segmental vitiligo. Combination therapy with topical medications and phototherapy is superior to monotherapy.


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