Excimer Light for Repigmentation in Vitiligo

Vitiligo on a man's arm
Vitiligo on a man’s arm
The repigmenting efficacy and safety of phototherapy with EL or TUVB in patients with vitiligo was evaluated.

Targeted phototherapy with excimer light (EL) led to more regimentation than targeted ultraviolet (UV) B (TUVB) in patients with vitiligo, according to research findings published in Dermatologic Therapy.

In this study, researchers retrospectively evaluated the repigmenting efficacy and safety of phototherapy with EL or TUVB in patients with vitiligo. A total of 40 patients (mean age, 19.4 years) received EL, and 40 patients received TUVB (mean age, 23.4 years) during a 5-year period. The mean duration of vitiligo was 6.5 years in the EL group and 6.4 years in the TUVB group.

Patients in this study underwent phototherapy sessions twice weekly for a minimum of 30 sessions or until 90% to 100% repigmentation of the affected lesions was observed. Researchers compared the 2 groups in terms of the extent of repigmentation on the affected sites. Adverse events (AEs) were also assessed.

Approximately 82.6% of patients who received EL and 76.3% of patients who received TUVB experienced 50% or greater repigmentation (range, 50%-100%). The EL group had 69 lesions treated, and the TUVB group had 97 lesions treated. Approximately 68.1% and 46.4% of patients in each group, respectively, experienced a 75% to 100% repigmentation rate, which was defined as an “excellent response” to treatment.

Compared with the TUVB arm, patients in the EL group had significantly higher average repigmentation score on the face and neck (P <.001), trunk (P <.001), upper limb (P =.001), and lower limb (P<.001). In addition, patients treated with EL needed a fewer mean number of doses to achieve complete repigmentation of the treated lesion (13.75 vs 19.37; P <.001). The mean cumulative dose required to achieve complete repigmentation was also lower for EL vs TUVB (6.14J/cm2 vs 7.69J/cm2, respectively; P <.001).

None of the patients in either group lost pigmentation during a 3-month follow-up period. Erythema on the treated areas was the only recorded AE, which was observed in 3 patients assigned to EL and 2 patients assigned to TUVB.

Limitations of this study included its retrospective nature as well as the small number of participants.

The researchers suggest “EL may have fewer long-term risks than NBUVB due to shorter treatment durations and lower cumulative dosages and is therefore, more favourable for use in certain patients especially those at high risk for malignancy.”


Tabassum H, Majid I, Imran S. Is targeted UVB as effective as excimer light phototherapy in treatment of vitiligo? Dermatol Ther. Published online July 10, 2021. doi:10.1111/dth.15058