The Effect of Isotretinoin on Vitiligo and Autoimmune Comorbidity

Megan O'Connor, Jonathan I. Silverberg, Nanette B. Silverberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Several case reports have noted development of vitiligo as a potential side-effect of isotretinoin. In an IRB approved on-line survey of vitiligo patients we queried 1,301 vitiligo patients, 1115 with generalized vitiligo responding as to whether they had taken isotretinoin to address whether this issue was a common phenomenon amongst vitiligo patients. 3.6% of respondents had taken isotretinoin, 1.4% (n=16) before onset of vitiligo, and 2.2% (n=24) after onset of vitiligo. When compared with age-matched vitiligo peers who had not taken isotretinoin before onset of vitiligo (n=64) , isotretinoin use prior to onset of vitiligo was associated with: decreased disease body surface area (conditional logistic regression: OR of BSA≥50% (95% CI)=0.12 (0.03–0.57), P=0.007); decreased odds of body and face involvement when compared with either body or face alone (OR (95% CI)=0.20 (0.06–0.73), P=0.02); and decreased co-morbid autoimmunity (OR (95% CI)=0.17 (0.04–0.58), P=0.01). The volume of isotretinoin usage in vitiligo patients is additionally suggestive of a link between cystic acne and vitiligo. J Drugs Dermatol. 2020;19(6): doi:10.36849/JDD.2020.4938.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-638
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Drugs in Dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2020


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