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Archived Forum 2: 2008-2013

HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsQ&A 8/2008 - 10...Q&A 8/2008 - 10...Vitiligo -- whatVitiligo -- what's new? Can LDN help?
New Post
9/12/2008 8:22 PM

Hi Elaine,

I recently heard from someone who has some questions about vitiligo.

Sermin has had vitiligo for 14 years. It has affected 12%-13% of her body. As is true with many autoimmune diseases, it has devastated her life in terms of fatigue and the disfiguring aspects of the disease. She has not responded to traditional treatments. (I will get more information on that.) 

She would like to know what cutting-edge therapies there are for this disease, what treatment protocols she should be following, and finally whether or not those using LDN (who have this autoimmune skin disorder) have seen improvement in their condition since taking LDN. Basically, she is looking for suggestions, input, resources, etc.

Thank you for your help.

On behalf of Sermin

New Post
9/13/2008 10:18 AM

Hi Elaine,

I kicked off a discussion on this at

Vitiligo Discussion

However, I thought you might have some articles on this topic or other resources for us and maybe some ideas on how to approach various skin disorders which are often a part of multiple autoimmune disease syndrome (thyroid, RA, etc.).

New Post
9/13/2008 11:16 AM

Hi Valerie,

Low dose naltrexone would be a good medication to try as long as Sermin isn't taking Vicodin or any other opiate-based drugs for pain.

Vitiligo is fairly complex and is known to be triggered by both eviromental and genetic factors. These factors lead to the production of autoantibodies that destroy the melanocyte cells that produce melanin.  Oxidative stress is considered a primary trigger and anti-inflammatory diets and antioxidant vitamins are also reported to help. Similar to other autoimmune diseases, anything that helps the immune system heal, like LDN, diet, and exercise, helps reduce symptoms and induce remission.

Areas of the skin subjected to repeated trauma are more susceptible to vitiligo. Patches of vitiligo often develop on these areas, including the fingers, inner wrists, bony prominences (knees, elbows, shoulder blades), and taking care with these areas can also help.

Phototherapy with narrow-band UV-B light is one of the most common therapies and for many people it helps induce repigmentation. Systemic and localized phototherapy are both used. The excimer laser and low beam laser are also good options.

Several studies show that phototherapy used in combination with tacrolimus cream works well in people who have less than 30 percent of their surface affected.  Corticosteroids are another option but side effects from long-term therapy make them more of a last choice.

Depigmentation therapy using monobenzylether or hydroquinone are also used and there are also surgical alternatives.  Surgery is usually reserved for segmented (unilateral) or localized stable vitiligo. Micropigmentation with tattos is also an option and appears to be gaining in popularity.

Overall, LDN would be a way of reducing disease progression, but other therapies might be needed to help with restoring skin pigment.

While there aren't any formal studies in LDN and vitiligo, there's quite a bit of anecdotal information available suggesting that LDN offers promise for vitiligo. Best, Elaine

New Post
9/13/2008 11:28 AM

Hi Valerie,

thanks for sending the discussion link. Of interest, a similar question was posed on one of the HealingWell boards yesterday, but the person asking was on several meds including Vicodin. LDN couldn't be used along with Vicodin as LDN would block its action although blood levels of Vicodin would continue to increase if the drug was continued.  Likewise, the LDN would be used up blocking Vicodin.

Skin disorders are a major concern in people with autoimmune diseases. Managing the other autoimmune conditions, often thyroid disorders, can help reduce skin symptoms, which include hives, rash, vitiligo, lichen conditions, and others. Slowing symptoms down with corticosteroids often helps temporarily, but ultimately the immune system defect needs to be addressed for healing to occur. 

LDN is potentially the best treatment option because it helps the body heal itself. Still, lifestyle influences and avoiding environmental triggers are all important components in healing. Best, Elaine

New Post
9/13/2008 2:08 PM

Thanks, Elaine, for your detailed reply on vitiligo treatments and warnings about LDN and Vicodin. I think Sermin will probably try LDN. She has already done many (but not all) of the treatments you describe here.

I noticed you just put up a blog on Types of Vitiligo as well. I'll pass it on.

Again, many thanks for your input and help.


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