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J Drugs Dermatol. 2013 Apr;12(4):e63-7.

The therapeutic effects of a topical tretinoin and corticosteroid combination for vitiligo: a placebo-controlled, paired-comparison, left-right study.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Dongguk University Graduate School of Medicine, Goyang-si, South Korea.



Topical all-trans-retinoic acid (tretinoin) prevents skin atrophy induced by long-term use of topical corticosteroids, without abrogating their anti-inflammatory effects.


The goal of this study was to determine the efficacy of tretinoin plus topical corticosteroids (tretinoin plus) for repigmentation in patients with vitiligo.


A placebo-controlled, paired-comparison, left-right study was conducted for a period of 6 months on tretinoin plus and the vehicle plus the same topical corticosteroid (vehicle plus) treatment in 50 patients diagnosed with generalized vitiligo. Clinical responses were assessed using the computerized analysis, and the results were compared with the visual analysis.


The percentage agreement between the 2 analyses was 91.8%. Among 49 participants who successfully completed this study, 27 (55%) showed a better response to tretinoin plus than to vehicle plus. The improved response was noted at an early stage of treatment, during the first 3 months in 60% of patients.


Combined therapy with tretinoin plus topical corticosteroids is safe and effective and provides another option for treatment of patients with vitiligo.

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