Topical tacrolimus is more effective for treatment of vitiligo in patients of skin of color

Jonathan I. Silverberg, Nanette B. Silverberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Vitiligo vulgaris is a chronic autoimmune depigmenting disorder affecting individuals of all skin colors. Lesions are commonly noted in the periorificial face and over the upper and lower extremities in areas of friction. Although there have been many published reports of successful therapies for vitiligo, few have assessed differential response based on skin color. Objective: To determine if topical tacrolimus is more effective at treating vitiligo in individuals of color. Methods: An IRB-approved chart review of patients with a diagnosis of vitiligo was conducted including patients seen between May 2001 and April 2006. Patients with vitiligo were treated with tacrolimus 0.03% for children ages 2-15 years of age and tacrolimus 0.1% ointment for individuals 16 years of age or older, applied twice-daily to all hypopigmented or depigmented lesions. A review of clinical features, Fitzpatrick skin type and response to topical tacrolimus were recorded. Results: Topical tacrolimus was effective in all Fitzpatrick skin types, with superior efficacy on body lesions in individuals of Fitzpatrick types 3-4 (Fisher exact test, P=0.03). Further, individuals with Fitzpatrick type 3-4 skin had shorter interval to >75 percent improvement of lesions on the body (Kaplan-Meier Log-rank, P=0.03) and head and neck (P=0.016). Conclusion: Topical tacrolimus is an effective treatment for vitiligo irrespective of skin tone, with greatest benefit in Fitzpatrick type 3-4 skin. Repigmentation of lesions on the head and neck is superior to repigmentation of the body and extremities in all racial subgroups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-510
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Drugs in Dermatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Topical tacrolimus is more effective for treatment of vitiligo in patients of skin of color'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this