Vitiligo is one of the most common pigment cell disorders, found in 1-2% of the world’s population. It can be distinguished by depigmented patches of skin on a person’s body. . Anyone, despite their gender, age or ethnicity, can have Vitiligo. This chronic skin disorder is generally thought to be an autoimmune condition in which melanocytes, the pigment cells in the skin, are attacked by the body’s own immune cells and stop producing pigmentation. Various treatments for Vitiligo are available today, including the topical medicinal treatments such as the tacrolimus ointment.
According to the results of a randomized, double-blind trial published in the May issue of the Archives of Dermatology, Tacrolimus was about as effective in the treatment of vitiligo as clobetasol and may be the preferred first-line treatment for sensitive skin areas. Given its immunomodulatory properties and safer profile than corticosteroids, tacrolimus ointment carries an improved benefit-toxic effect ratio and provides a new therapeutic alternative to topical corticosteroids in children with Vitiligo.
Immunomodulators, such as tacrolimus ointment 0.1% and 0.03%, and pimecrolimus cream 1% are approved for treating atopic dermatitis in adult patients and pediatric patients over 2 years of age. Tacrolimus can be used as an alternative to topical steroids in many other forms of dermatitis, such as Vitiligo. This ointment does not cause the atrophy, telangiectasia, or adverse ocular effects of topical corticosteroids, which has limited application to the face and intertriginous areas.
Tacrolimus acts on T cells and mast cells, inhibiting T cell activation and the production of proinflammatory cytokines, such as Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF), whose levels are higher in Vitiligo lesional skin. Moreover, it prevents the release of proinflammatory mediators in mast cells by degranulation, and many successful treatment of Vitiligo with tacrolimus has been reported recently.