Vitiligo Patients Face Higher All-Cause, Vitiligo-Related Costs Compared to Those Without

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These data highlight the severe economic burden faced by patients with vitiligo compared to that of the general population, including mental health-related costs.

Individuals with vitiligo face far higher all-cause and vitiligo-related financial costs compared to those without the chronic skin condition, according to new findings, in addition to greater mental health–related costs.1

This research was conducted to assess the overall burden of costs on patients with vitiligo compared to those in the general public, though several of these costs have been detailed previously.2

The analysis was led by Khaled Ezzedine, from the department of dermatology, AP-HP, Henri Mondor University Hospital at the Université Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC) in France. The investigators noted that no research had been published which quantified costs and resource use among those with vitiligo in the US compared with the same costs of the general population.

“Determining medical costs will help identify the main expenditure predictors and spending patterns,” Ezzedine and colleagues wrote. “Thus, this retrospective study aims to evaluate the healthcare costs and HCRU among patients with vitiligo using data from the Merative MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database.”

Background and Findings

The investigators carried out a retrospective analysis in which they looked at data which had been drawn from the Merative MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database. This database was made up of 49,512 subjects who had been diagnosed with vitiligo in the period from January 2008 - December 2020.

The research team set out to evaluate all-cause and vitiligo-related economic burden, measured through 2021 dollars, in addition to all-cause healthcare resource utilization (HCRU). The health costs assessed by the team comprised mental health-related resource use throughout a single-year post-index timeframe.

The subjects with diagnoses of vitiligo were paired 1:2 with those without the skin condition from the control group, and this was done between January 2007 - December 2021.

The team performed a subgroup analysis of those being given treatment for vitiligo that also had systemic effects, such as oral steroids and phototherapy. They also performed subgroup analyses on subjects given a newer mental health-related diagnosis.

Overall, the investigators’ analysis specifically aimed at assessing direct costs. The team ended up having a demographically well-balanced set of 148, 536 total subjects, with 49,512 in the vitiligo arm and 99,024 in the control arm.

In both of the study’s cohorts, it was shown that the median age at the point of the index date was 43 years. It was also noted that the majority of those included were female (79.2%).

The investigators reported that the subjects included in the vitiligo group were shown to have reported notably elevated all-cause ($15,551 compared to $7735) and vitiligo-associated ($3490 compared to $54) economic cost compared to those included in the control group (P<.0001).

Furthermore, the research team noted the higher level of utilization of both all-cause and mental health–associared healthcare resource utilization among those in the vitiligo arm (P<.0001) compared to the control arm. The team added that there were persistent disparities in the all-cause and vitiligo-associated care costs which were far greater in subjects undergoing treatments that had systemic effects or those with mental health diagnoses compared to controls (P<.0001).

“The economic burden was markedly higher for patients receiving a treatment with systemic effects or with new mental health diagnoses than for the total vitiligo population,” they wrote. “These findings reveal an unmet need for cost-effective treatments and highlight the importance of fully identifying the drivers of economic burden for patients with vitiligo.”


  1. Ezzedine K, Soliman AM, Li C, Camp HS, Pandya AG. Economic Burden Among Patients with Vitiligo in the United States: A Retrospective Database Claims Study. J Invest Dermatol. Published online September 20, 2023. doi:10.1016/j.jid.2023.08.025.
  2. Valle Y, Korobko I, Sigova J, et al. Patient-reported outcomes: A 5-year long study reveals previously unreported therapeutic, demographic, socio-economic, and other correlations in vitiligo. Dermatol Ther. 2018;31(5):e12620. doi:10.1111/dth.12620.