New Treatment Could Be Breakthrough for Vitiligo Skin Condition

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Doctors have discovered a combination of treatments that can return color to skin that has been lightened by vitiligo — the skin disease that turned Michael Jackson’s skin white.

The new therapy includes the oral medication Xeljanz (tofacitinib) — a drug already approved for use in rheumatoid arthritis patients that dampens the body’s immune response — and ultraviolet-B light therapy.

The combination has only been used on two vitiligo patients, but according to a study author, the results have been dramatic.

Experts add, however, that the findings need to be duplicated in studies with larger groups of people.

The treatment produces “results that are impossible to achieve with common therapies,” said Dr. Brett King, an associate professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine.

“I think this is a breakthrough in vitiligo treatment,” he added.

One of King’s vitiligo patients, Shahanaj Akter, agreed.

“My skin is so much better. I can use make-up and it blends nicely. I am so excited,” she said.

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SOURCES: Brett King, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, dermatology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; Shahanaj Akter, New Haven, Conn.; Seemal Desai, M.D., clinical assistant professor, dermatology, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; Jan. 31, 2018, JAMA Dermatology, online

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