Vitiligo is a common pigmentation disorder where the cells that make the pigment, melanin, are destroyed. The outcome is white patches on different parts of the body. This disorder is not dangerous, but it can be psychologically damaging. It affects around 2% of the total population but is most common with those of Indian and Mexican descent (8%).
It has been found that homeopathy can enhance the production of skin pigment in cases of vitiligo. Homeopathy has better success with early and mild to moderate cases where the spread is not too extensive.
Scientific Research Studies of Homeopathy for Vitiligo
Background: Vitiligo is a common hypopigmentation disorder with significant psychological impact. An evaluation of homeopathic treatment was performed in individuals with vitiligo in a hospital outpatient clinic in West Bengal, India.
Methods: Thirty participants (median age 27 years old, 57% female) were recruited for a prospective open-label pilot study and treated with individualized homeopathic medicines for 6 months. Efficacy was assessed after 3 months and 6 months using Vitiligo Area Scoring Index (VASI) score, Vitiligo European Task Force (VETF) score, and Dermatological Life Quality Index (DLQI) score, which are validated outcome measures evaluating the area, intensity, spread of depigmentation of vitiligo lesions, and quality of life (QoL).
Results: A total of 27 participants completed the trial; 3 dropped out. After 6 months of treatment, the median VASI total score improved significantly by 0.1 units (p=0.003), from 0.8 (0.5, 1.5) to 0.7 (0.3, 0.8) on a scale from 0 (no depigmentation) to 100 (completely depigmented). Similarly, the VETF median score improved by 2 units (p=0.0001) from 1 (0, 1) to – 1 (–1, 0) and the staging score changed from 1 (1, 2) to 1 (0, 1), p=0.002. The total DLQI median score exhibited significant reduction from 21 (17, 22) to 13.6 (10, 17), change 7.4 (p=0.0001), as also did its components.
Conclusions: Individualized homeopathic treatment associated with significant improvement of VASI, VETF and DLQI scores. The extent to which the observed effects were due to placebo needs clarification in future randomized double-blind clinical studies preceded by feasibility studies.
Prasad, R.V.R., Ch. Raveendar, Bharatha Lakshmi, K. Singh, A.K. Vichitra, Praveen Oberai, Renu Mittal. “Clinical evaluation of predefined homoeopathic medicines in Vitiligo.” Clinical Research Studies, Series-II.2009; 85-92.
The study by Prasad RVR et al  from 1987 to 2003 involved 282 vitiligo patients and reported various degrees of improvement in 182 of them after homeopathic treatment. The medicines mostly used were Arsenicum sulphuratum flavum, Arsenicum album, Nitricum acidum, and Syphilinum as intercurrent.
Shraddhamayananda, Swami (G.K. Khatua), S. Dasgupta, S.K. Basu, G. Swarnakar. “Significant Remission of Vitiligo by Ultradiluted Alternative Medicines.” Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research Vol 5, Issue 2, 2012.
Vitiligo is an age old problem. It is considered as a stigma even in our developed society. In this study homeopathic medicines showed promising results in the treatment of vitiligo cases. Among 200 patients attended at Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math outpatient department, 190 patients showed encouraging responses. Medicines used were calc. carb., lycopodium, lachesis, mezerium, nat. mur., sepia, ars.s.fl., ars. alb. with dilutions – 200/1000. Pre- and post-treatment biopsy confirmed regeneration of pigments with disappearance of the white spots after treatment when histological examinations were done. As the treatment procedure was simple, patient compliance was good. The outcome of this study creates hope for a possible eradication of vitiligo as a whole in the community.
Clinical Research in Vitiligo
This project was carried out at Nehru Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital since April 2001 and at Dr. B.R. Sur Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital since 2003.
I. Nehru Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital
1. Dr. V. K. Khanna, Principal, N H M C & H
2. Dr. Rashmi Chaudhary, Assistant Professor, Organon and Philosophy, NHMC & H
3. Dr. Gautam Pal, Medical Officer (Teaching)
Interns: Anju, Kapila, Savitri and Sulekha
199 cases were studied (130 new cases(74 males & 56 females) and 69 old cases(37 male & 32 female) during the period 1st April 2004 to 31st December 2004 of these 190 cases had reported regularly. There was marked improvement in 10 patients, moderate improvement in 22 patients and mild improvement in 86 patients. The medicines found useful were Nat mur, Nux vom., Sulph., Puls., Lyco, Phos, Calc carb., Calc phos. Intercurrents on the basis of specific history and indications used were Tuberculinum, Syphilinum and Carcinosin. The Specific medicines used were Magnifera indica(prescribed to 4 patients all the 4 patients responded well) Mica (prescribed to 17 patients of which only 10 responded), Arsenic sulph flavum (prescribed to 7 patients of which 3 patients responded) and Psoralia Q (prescribed to 4 patients and all the four patients responded well). The potencies used were in 30, 200 and 1M. The 30 potency was repeated weekly, 200 potencies were repeated fortnightly and 1M potency was repeated after a month. Intercurrents were given in 200 and 1M potency.
II. Dr. B. R. Sur Homoeopathic Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre
1. Dr. Neena Mehan, Assistant Professor, Practice of Medicine
Interns: Ruchi Jain, Gurdeep Kaur, Vaneeta, Madhusmita
64 cases were studied during the period 1st April 2004 to 31st December 2004 of these 56 patients reported regularly. Marked improvement was in 10 patients, moderate in 12 patients and mild in 22 patients. The drugs found useful were Ars alb., Ars sulp flavum., Arg nit., Calc carb., Ign., Lyco., Kali carb. The intercurrently used drugs were Carcinosin, Tuberculinum and Syphilinum.
Vitiligo on right side of face near lips, treatment with local steroids worsened the patch
This is the case of Master. A. J, a 5 years old male child who was brought to the clinic with complaints of vitiligo on the face since about 4 months. The patch involved the right side of the face close to the lips. The patient had been treated with local steroids but this had worsened the patch, thus involving larger area of the face later.
His appetite was average and he had intense craving for salted foods, sour and spicy foods and eggs. He had aversion to sweets, milk and chilled drinks. He used to have constipation often wherein the stools would be hard and he would have to strain much to pass the stools. He also had complaints of bed-wetting since childhood.
He was the adopted child in the family which included the parents and two sisters. He had been adopted since the parents had no male child. He was a lean, thin child with the habit of thumb-sucking. A very mischievous child by nature; he was also very cheerful and affectionate. He had fear of being in darkness.
The details of his family history were not available since he was an adopted child.
Based on this history, he was prescribed homeopathic medicines for the vitiligo. He was put on a drug called Phosphorus which was prescribed in the 200th potency. Within 6 months of the treatment, there was significant improvement in the spots and there was good amount of repigmentation. His complaint of nocturnal enuresis (bed-wetting) was completely cured within 6-7 months. His habit of thumb-sucking was also taken care of within just 3 months of starting the treatment. Thus there was overall improvement in all the systems after commencing homeopathic treatment. He had to continue the treatment for some more time to achieve further repigmentation of the affected region.
39 years old woman with Leucoderma (Vitiligo) started developing white spots on multiple parts of her body
Mrs. A.V.T a 39 years old female patient reported to us with complaints of Leucoderma since a month. She said that she had started developing white spots at multiple places over her body in the last one month. Her dermatologist had diagnosed it as vitiligo. She had few scattered spots on her face, knees, chest and back. She was so disturbed by these spots that she felt she was having spots all over her body. In fact she felt as if she was left all alone in the middle of a desert and left to die without any kind of hope of being cured, just left to get mercy and sympathy from others. She had been through lot of stress in the last 3 years due to her parents’ accident and brother’s divorce. There was a lot of anxiety in the family due to circumstances that were not under their control.
She was also a known case of hypothyroidism and was under regular treatment for the same. She had been gaining lot of weight since the past few months and since exercise was not helping her much, she had become all the more lazy and lost her self-control and self-esteem.
She would occasionally get headache when she would be out in the sun for long time but this was not a regular feature.
Her appetite had increased since the last few months and she had been gaining lot of weight. She would eat a lot especially when she would get bored or irritated. She was fond of salty food although she would crave for sweets occasionally. She had no problems related to her bowels though she would have to go for stools almost after every meal. Her menses would be scanty and irregular and she would experience lot of bloating and dizziness before her menses. Her sleep would be often disturbed due to frequent waking for urination. She had also started getting nightmares about looking ugly and this would cause much anxiety for her.
She was a housewife with two kids and she would be very busy in her house-keeping work. She was very anxious and fearful by nature. She would easily get depressed by things happening around her. She used to be a very quiet person previously but recently she had started moving out and mixing with people. She would always be in a rush to complete her daily affairs and yet she would find it difficult to complete them. She lacked self-confidence and would get very nervous even at small things like cooking up for guests. She had become irritable since some time and would scream at her kids when angry. But she would calm down in some time and then try to patch up with the kids. She had fear of darkness and of heights. She was very sad, depressed and frustrated due to the vitiligo and it was the major cause of stress in her life at that time and she felt as if she was going crazy due to this stress.
There was no history of any major illness that she had suffered from in the past. However, both her paternal uncles had vitiligo.
She was prescribed the remedy Natrum Muriaticum based on the above history and at the end of 4 months of treatment she reported that her spots of vitiligo were diminishing in size and were actually blending with her original skin color. She reported that her dermatologist was also very much surprised by her quick and positive response to the homoeopathic treatment. She continued the treatment for some more time till her spots completely vanished and thereafter discontinued the treatment which was no longer required.
Remark: The remedy prescribed in these cases is patient-specific i.e. it has been prescribed based on the symptoms specific to the patient at that point of time. It is advisable that the patient does not indulge in any self-medication.
Vitiligo with hypothyroid responded to homeopathy
This is the case of a 45-year-old Mrs Y.S.K, employed in government service, who reported to the clinic with a known case of Vitiligo for the past one and a half year. Vitiligo was spread across her arms, forearms, legs, chest, back, ears and neck.
Along with her skin complaints, she also had occasional vertigo since a year, which lasted for about 2 minutes. She complained of loss of balance during the episodes of vertigo. Vertigo used to aggravate on exertion.
She used to live with her two sons aged 16 and 14. Her childhood and adolescent years were well supported. All her ailments seem to have increased after her husband went missing while he was deputed on offshore duty. She was under a lot of stress as her husband who was working in merchant navy was reported missing. There is profound sadness. She particularly felt very lonely and hoped to see her husband back. She finds herself busy most of the time, as she is the breadwinner of the family. She gets easily irritated when the children do not listen to her. She weeps easily when she is hurt. She feels better by consolation. Loneliness and insecurity were quite marked. However, she was very sympathetic towards other sufferings.
She had no family history of vitiligo. Her father was hypertensive. Apart from this, there was no other major illness in the family. She had been taking allopathic treatment for vitiligo.
Based on her detailed history, she was prescribed Sepia 200 along with phototherapy treatment. After a month of homoeopathic treatment, her vitiligo on the forearm and neck was better by 40 %. The spots on her legs had slightly lightened. No new spots were noticeable.
After 4 months of phototherapy sessions and homoeopathic treatment, there was marked improvement upto 75-80 % on the hands, legs, neck and scalp. Repigmentation had occurred on her legs, neck, forearm, thumb, feet and back of neck significantly.
During the course of her treatment for vitiligo, from the narration of her complaints, it was presumed that she might be having some thyroid related disorder. To confirm her clinical diagnosis, she was advised to get her thyroid levels checked.
Her reports before starting the treatment:
T3: 144 (58-159) ng/dl
T4: 7.5 (4.9-11.7)
TSH: 6.91 (0.35-4.94) uU/ml
The elevated levels of TSH showed that she was suffering from hypothyroidism. She was treated for hypothyroidism along with vitiligo. She was advised to get her thyroid levels checked after 3 months. She is still advised to continue treatment in order to see repigmentation on other parts as well.
There was overall improvement in her vitiligo patches. This case also shows significant improvement in vitiligo after commencing homoeopathic treatment in conjunction with phototherapy treatment.