Patients With Vitiligo Report Varied Severe Symptoms Based on Skin Tone

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Large numbers of vitiligo patients around the world have reported differing outcomes, with darker skin types expressing the more significant severity, according to new findings.

New findings from the Vitiligo and Life Impact Among International Communities (VALIANT) study—presented at the European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology (EADV) 2022 Congress this week—showed variation in severity and degree of disease impact the disease among international patients.

Led by Nanja van Geel, MD, PhD, and Pearl Grimes, MD, the VALIANT study team sought to “further investigate and understand the severity, extent, and impact of vitiligo from the perspective of patients.”

Research and Methods

The VALIANT investigators conducted a cross-sectional analysis of a 25-minute survey of vitiligo patients aged ≥18 years, recruited using an online screener organized to find demographic information, confirm diagnosis, and receive consent. They used a general population sampling, gathered from 17 total countries across all 6 inhabited continents.

The Patient Global Assessment (PGA) was used for patient-reported vitiligo symptom severity and its general impact on their experiences each day. The investigators used a tool to calculate their Self Assessment Vitiligo Extent Score (SA-VES) to determine information about the affected regions.

The researchers collected patient data and made statistical comparisons between various subgroups using the chi-square test, conferring significance at the level of P <.05. They selected 3541 participants for analysis after the participants completed the survey and were assessed.

Study Results

The median age of the VALIANT survey participants was 38 years, with over half the patients being male. A total of 29% of participants reported having ≥10% affected body surface area (BSA). Additionally, about 59.2% of patients reported being of fairer skin types (Fitzpatrick skin types I-III) and 40.8% (skin types IV-VI) were darker skin types.

The investigators found that around the world, 33.8% of participants reported being severely affected, with the highest percentages being 39% in the US and 39.1% in Asia. The lowest percentages were Europe at 30.1% and Brazil at 20.3%.

The survey found that darker-skinned participants reported higher severity compared to lighter-skinned participants – 44.2% versus 26.7%, respectively; P <.0001) and ≥10% versus <10% affected BSA (58.1% vs 23.9%, respectively; P <.0001).

The investigators concluded by stating that skin types IV-VI reported greater severity of vitiligo impact on their daily lives, adding that the severity on those with types I-III should also not be underestimated.

This study, “Quality of Life and Disease Severity in Patients with Vitiligo: Findings From the Global VALIANT Study,” was presented at EADV 2022.