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Contempo Updates
Clinician's Corner
February 9, 2005

New Insights and New Therapies in Vitiligo

Author Affiliations

Contempo Updates Section Editor: Sarah Ringold, MD, Fishbein Fellow.


Author Affiliations: Vitiligo and Pigmentation Institute of Southern California; Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles.

JAMA. 2005;293(6):730-735. doi:10.1001/jama.293.6.730

Quiz Ref IDVitiligo is a relatively common, acquired pigmentary disorder characterized by areas of depigmented skin resulting from loss of epidermal melanocytes. The prevalence of this disease varies from 0.1% to 2% in various global populations. Onset may occur at any age, but the incidence usually peaks in the second and third decades of life. Patterns of distribution of the disease include the generalized, acral or acrofacial, localized, and segmental types. The generalized distribution is the most common pattern and is characterized by symmetrically distributed areas of depigmentation. Segmental vitiligo is the least common pattern and occurs in a dermatomal or quasi-dermatomal distribution, often following the distribution of the trigeminal nerve. The course of the disease is unpredictable. Vitiliginous skin lesions may remain stable or slowly progress for years. In some instances, however, patients undergo rapid, complete depigmentation in 1 or 2 years.

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