Help may be on the way, however, as doctors have had success using a combination of an arthritis drug and ultraviolet light.
In previous studies, Dr. Brett King (of Yale University) and Dr. John Harris (from the University of Massachusetts-Worcester) had determined two things: the drug tofacitinib stops the immune system from attacking the skin cells that manufacture melanin pigment, and narrow-band UVB light helps restore skin color by stimulating pigment-making cells.
King recently had two patients with severe vitiligo, who hadn't responded to traditional treatments. After trying them on the tofacitinib/UVB combo for a few months, though, they both experienced near-total restoration of skin color in the affected areas.
While more research is still needed, King states that "These findings will define treatment of vitiligo in the future."