Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Restores Skin Color in Vitiligo Patient

  • Posted on: 30 June 2015
  • By: Shalini.Sharma

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Vitiligo is a common, psychologically devastating condition that causes skin to lose its pigmentation or color. Current treatments, such as steroid creams and light therapy, are not reliably effective in reversing the disease. A new study says, a drug used for treating rheumatoid arthritis has restored skin color in a female patient suffering from vitiligo -- a common, skin condition where portion of skin loses its pigmentation or color. The report was published in JAMA Dermatology.

"It is a first, and it could revolutionize treatment of an awful disease," said principal investigator of the research Brett King, assistant professor of dermatology Yale School of Medicine in the US. 

Treatment with the drug tofacitinib nearly removed the white spots on her face and hands without causing any side effects, the findings showed. The study offers hope to millions of people suffering from from the disfiguring condition best known as the disease that plagued late pop star Michael Jackson.

For the study, the researchers administered tofacitinib to a 53-year-old patient with prominent white spots covering her face, hands, and body. Within two months of treatment, the patient experienced partial repigmentation on her face, arms, and hands -- the areas that concerned her most. After five months, the white spots on her face and hands were nearly gone, with only a few spots remaining on other parts of her body. The drugcaused no adverse side effects during the course of treatment.

"The results could represent a breakthrough in vitiligo treatment," the researchers said.


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