ABSTRACT- Progressive Childhood vitiligo is a common acquired de-pigmenting condition that can affect skin and
hair with devastating psychological effects on patients as well as their parents. Children with vitiligo often suffer from
anxiety and depression because of their unusual appearance. Management of progressive vitiligo in children is difficult
as therapeutic options are restricted when compared to that in adult patients, as steroids are the mainstay of treatment to
stop the progression. Treating a patient of vitiligo is always a difficult task and the job becomes even more challenging
when the patient is a child and his/her disease is progressing at a fast rate.
Key-words- Children, Progressive vitiligo, Oral mini pulse, Betamethasone, Dexamethasone
Vitiligo is an acquired pigmentary disorder occurring
irrespective of age, sex and race.  Vitiligo usually presents
itself in childhood or young adults, out of which 30% - 40
% develop this condition by 20 years of age and 25%,
develop before 8 years while mean age of onset is 4 to 5
years.  Childhood Vitiligo differs from adult disease in
the following aspects: female preponderance is observed,
segmental presentation is more common, association with
other autoimmune disorders is rare.  Self-esteem of the
affected children and their parents is disturbed with marked
psychosocial effect. 
Vitiligo has been categorized as “segmental” and
“non-segmental” types. Segmental vitiligo (SV) which is
more common in children implies occurrence of
depigmented macules and patches along dermatomal or
quasi-dermatomal pattern, without crossing the midline 
whereas non-segmental vitiligo (NSV), the skin lesions
may be generalized (vitiligo vulgaris, universal vitiligo) or
localized (focal, mucosal, acrofacial, acral). 
There is no definite definition for progressive vitiligo but
development of new lesions or extension of old lesions
during 3 months prior to examination is considered as
progressive vitiligo. Risk factors for progression in
childhood vitiligo includes:
Positive family history, clinical type–Non segmental
vitiligo, longer duration of disease, koebner’s phenomenon
and mucosal involvement. Treating a patient of vitiligo is
always a difficult task and the job becomes even more
challenging when the patient is a child and his/her disease
is progressing at a fast rate.  This is due to the fact that the
treatment options available for this group of patients are
quite limited, not universally effective, and liable to cause
troublesome adverse effects.  Treatment options like
immune-suppressants, oral psoralens,  and even
conventional doses of oral steroids cannot be easily
employed in children with vitiligo because of the side
effect profile of these drugs. 
Counseling is the foremost part of treatment due to social
stigma. Counseling improves compliance of the treatment
as it to some extent relieves the anxiety part of disease
which is commonly associated in progressive childhood
vitiligo the treatment is difficult to decide as we have to
choose between the beneficial effects and side effects.
The main emphasis should be:
- To stop the progression of the disease
- To induce re-pigmentation of the lesions
The current treatments for this disease include: Systemic
steroids, topical steroids, phototherapy, or combination
2. Treatment Options in Progressive Vitiligo in
Corticosteroid and other
Topical PUVA, Systemic PUVA (>12 years), NB-UVB,
Phenylalanine + PUVA, Excimer laser (308 nm).
Corticosteroids, Tacrolimus/pimecrolimus, Calcipotriol, Pseudocatalase, Combination
3.1 To Stop the Progression of Disease:
Systemic corticosteroids are the first line treatment if no contraindication as
3.1.1 Halts the progression of disease:
3.1.2 Induces regimentation:
Once process of destruction of melanocyte is arrested, although time taken for disease
activity to stop is variable from few weeks to months.
Systemic corticosteroids can be given in Daily dosage, Alternate day dosage, Oral minipulse therapy (OMP).
Daily dosage has side effects such as– adrenal suppression, avascular necrosis, osteoporosis and growth retardation.
OMP is given in higher doses for 2 consecutive days a week and remaining 5 days are treatment free.
Researchers showed that cortisol levels decreased significantly after the second dose of dexamethasone in a week, but
returned to baseline range during the 5 days in which patient was off treatment so, OMP did not lead to adrenal
Table 1: Response of vitiligo to OMP
3.2 To Induce Re-pigmentation:
|OMP ||Dose (mg)
||No Progress (%)
||SS Side Effects (%)
|Pasricha et al.
2days a week
|89 ||80 ||22.5 ||40|
|Kanwar et at.
2days a week
|43.8 ||43.8 || ||32|
|Rath et al. ||Beta methasone
|90 ||15.5 ||50 ||20|
|Kim et al.
|87.7 ||70.4 ||56.7 ||81|
|Radakovice et al.
days a week
|88 ||17.2 ||69 ||29|
|Banerjee et al.
|90 ||76 ||Not reported ||100|
|Majid et al.
|| Methyl Prednisolone
2 days a week
|90 ||65 ||25.7 ||400|
Once progression is stopped adjuvant therapies to augment
pigmentation can be added.
Narrow-band ultraviolet B (NB-UVB)
Is an effective modality for the treatment of generalized
childhood vitiligo with >20% BSA 
shows Immunomodulator effect, Halts the progression of
the disease, and stimulates the residual outer hair root
sheath melanocytes. (NB-UVB) is given initially 3 doses
per week and then increased by 10% at every sitting with a
starting dose – 280 mJ.
3.2.2 Topical therapy:
22.214.171.124 Mid-potent topical corticosteroid:
Mometasone cream (0.1%, once-daily application) for 3
months shows significant repigmentation.
Fluticasone is used over mometasone due to its long term
use and lesser side effects.
126.96.36.199 Topical calcineurin inhibitors:
Tacrolimus & pimerolimus are effective alternatives to
topical corticosteroids in terms of lesser side effects. 
3.2.3 VIT D3 analogue:
Calcipotriol is a synthetic derivative of calcitriol which
helps in regulating calcium metabolism.
3.2.4 Combination therapies:
- It has lesser side effects.
- Re-pigmentation is achieved as early as 4 weeks of
- Combination of calcipotriol and corticosteroid
developed good re-pigmentation in progressive
- NB-UVB in combination with topical steroid or
calcipotriol is the effective and comparatively safe
treatment modality in progressive childhood vitiligo.
Counseling is the foremost part in treatment of childhood
vitiligo. Medical treatment should be started as early as
possible. Systemic steroids are the treatment of choice;
OMP with long acting steroids should be the treatment of
choice as it has minimal side effects as compare to daily
dosage. NB-UVB in combination with calcineurine
inhibitors or topical steroid can be used as adjuvant or
alternate therapy but the disappointing fact is that none of
the available therapies are absolutely effective and disease
has a relapsing course.
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