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Arch Dermatol. 2003 May;139(5):581-5.

A double-blind randomized trial of 0.1% tacrolimus vs 0.05% clobetasol for the treatment of childhood vitiligo.

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  • 1Dermatology Department, Dr Ignacio Morones Prieto Hospital Central, Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí, 2405 V Carranza Avenue, Zona Universitaria, 78210 San Luis Potosí, Mexico.



To assess the safety and efficacy of topical 0.1% tacrolimus vs 0.05% clobetasol propionate.


Randomized double-blind trial.


Department of Dermatology, Hospital Central Dr Ignacio Morones Prieto, San Luis Potosí, México.


From 20 children with vitiligo, 2 symmetrical lesions of about the same size and evolution time were selected. They were devoid of any topical or systemic therapy for 2 months prior to inclusion. Interventions Treatment with topical tacrolimus and clobetasol for a 2-month period.


The grade of repigmentation was evaluated by color slides at baseline and again at every 2-week visit. The slides were analyzed by 2 clinicians unrelated to the study and by a morphometric digitalized computer program. Characteristics of pigment, time of response, symptoms, telangiectasias, and atrophy were evaluated every 2 weeks.


Eighteen (90%) of the 20 patients experienced some repigmentation. The mean percentage of repigmentation was 49.3% for clobetasol and 41.3% for tacrolimus. Lesions in 3 patients using clobetasol presented atrophy, and 2 lesions incurred telangiectasias; tacrolimus caused a burning sensation in 2 lesions.


Tacrolimus proved almost as effective as clobetasol propionate to restore skin color in lesions of vitiligo in children. Because it does not produce atrophy or other adverse effects, tacrolimus may be very useful for younger patients and for sensitive areas of the skin such as eyelids, and it should be considered in other skin disorders currently treated with topical steroids for prolonged periods.

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