Alternative treatments, such as traditional Chinese products, plant-derived photosensitizing agents, and herbal and vitamin supplements, can certainly improve therapeutic outcomes in vitiligo.
Traditional Chinese medicine is currently attracting interest in dermatological research looking at the possible development of new drugs. This approach is supported by the political strategies of Western medicine community toward China.
The pro-melanogenic effect may be related to antioxidant or anti-inflammatory properties; however, the main limitation of the published studies concerns the non-complete list of the used products as well as their chemical composition. Similarly, the effectiveness of melagenin is still lacking the knowledge of the underlying mechanisms of repigmentation. On the basis of the in vitro study on immunomodulatory action, aspirin and statins may be considered for the treatment.
More controlled studies should be performed before considering most of the new emerging options based on unconventional drug or combinatory approaches.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Cohen BE, Elbuluk N, Mu EW, Orlow SJ. Alternative systemic treatments for vitiligo: a review. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2015;16:463–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jin QX, Wj M, Zs D, et al. Clinical efficacy observation of combined treatment with Chinese traditional medicine and western medicine for 407 cases of vitiligo. Biomed Res. 1983;12:9–11.Google Scholar
Liu ZJ, Xiang YP. Clinical observation on treatment of vitiligo with xiaobai mixture. Chinese J Integr Trad Western Med. 2003;23:596–8.Google Scholar
Chen YJ, Chen YY, Wu CY, Chi CC. Oral Chinese herbal medicine in combination with phototherapy for vitiligo: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Complement Ther Med. 2016;26:21–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hofer A, Kerl H, Wolf P. Long-term results in the treatment of vitiligo with oral khellin plus UVA. Eur J Dermatol. 2001;11:225–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
Ortel B, Tanew A, Honigsmann H. Treatment of vitiligo with khellin and ultraviolet A. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1988;18:693–701.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
De Leeuw J, Assen YJ, van der Beek N, et al. Treatment of vitiligo with khellin liposomes, ultraviolet light and blister roof transplantation. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2011;25:74–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Khemis A, Ortonne JP. Comparative study of vegetable extracts possessing active superoxide dismutase and catalase (Vitix) plus selective UVB phototherapy versus an excipient plus selective UVB phototherapy in the treatment of common vitiligo. Nouvelles Dermatologiques. 2004;23:45–6.Google Scholar
Suite M, Quamina DB. Treatment of vitiligo with topical melagenine - a human placental extract. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1991;24:1018–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Xu AE, Wei XD. Topical melagenin for repigmentation in twenty-two child patients with vitiligo on the scalp. Chin Med J. 2004;117:199–201.PubMedGoogle Scholar
Berg K, Langaas M, Ericsson M, et al. Acetylsalicylic acid treatment until surgery reduces oxidative stress and inflammation in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2013;43:1154–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zailaie MZ. Short- and long-term effects of acetylsalicylic acid treatment on the proliferation and lipid peroxidation of skin cultured melanocytes of active vitiligo. Saudi Med J. 2004;25:1656–63.PubMedGoogle Scholar
Zailaie MZ. The effect of acetylsalicylic acid on the release rates of leukotrienes B4 and C4 from cultured melanocytes of active vitiligo. Saudi Med J. 2004;25:1439–44.PubMedGoogle Scholar
Zailaie MZ. Decreased proinflammatory cytokine production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells from vitiligo patients following aspirin treatment. Saudi Med J. 2005;26:799–805.PubMedGoogle Scholar
Zailaie MZ. Aspirin reduces serum anti-melanocyte antibodies and soluble interleukin-2 receptors in vitiligo patients. Saudi Med J. 2005;26:1085–92.PubMedGoogle Scholar
Jian Z, Tang L, Yi X, et al. Aspirin induces Nrf2-mediated transcriptional activation of haem oxygenase-1 in protection of human melanocytes from H2O2-induced oxidative stress. J Cell Mol Med. 2016;20:1307–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Noel M, Gagné C, Bergeron J, et al. Positive pleiotropic effects of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor on vitiligo. Lipids Health Dis. 2004;3:7–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Namazi MR. Statins: novel additions to the dermatologic arsenal? Exp Dermatol. 2004;13:337–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Neuhaus O, Strasser-Fachs S, Fazekas F, et al. Statins as immunomodulators – comparison with interferon-β1b in MS. Neurology. 2002;59:990–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Agarwal P, Rashighi M, Essien KI, et al. Simvastatin prevents and reverses depigmentation in a mouse model of vitiligo. J Invest Dermatol. 2015;135:1080–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tsuji T, Hamada T. Topically administered fluorouracil in vitiligo. Arch Dermatol. 1983;119:722–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sethi S, Mahajan BB, Gupta RR, Ohri A. Comparative evaluation of therapeutic efficacy of dermabrasion, dermabrasion combined with topical 5% 5-fluorouracil cream, and dermabrasion combined with topical placentrex gel in localized stable vitiligo. Int J Dermatol. 2007;46:875–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Anbar TS, Westerhof W, Abdel-Rahman AT, et al. Effect of one session of ERG:YAG laser ablation plus topical 5Fluorouracil on the outcome of short-term NB-UVB phototherapy in the treatment of non-segmental vitiligo: a left-right comparative study. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2008;24:322–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar