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Vitiligo Has Considerable Impact on Mental Health

Vitiligo affects patients' daily lives and well-being; more than half of patients report diagnosed mental health conditions

By Dermsquared Editorial Team | September 06, 2023

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 6, 2023 -- Globally, patients with vitiligo report being substantially affected in terms of their emotional well-being and psychosocial health, according to a study published online Aug. 30 in JAMA Dermatology.

Kristen Bibeua, Ph.D., from Incyte Corporation in Wilmington, Delaware, and colleagues assessed quality of life (QOL) and mental health in patients with vitiligo. Overall, 3,541 surveyed adults reported a vitiligo diagnosis and competed the survey. The survey was administered from May 6, 2021, to June 21, 2021, in 17 countries.

The researchers found that the mean global short-form Vitiligo Impact Patient scale score was 27.3 overall, with the highest score, indicating the greatest burden, for patients from India (mean, 40.2). According to the scale, the QOL burden was profound for patients with more than 5 percent affected body surface area (BSA), darker skin, and lesions on the face or hands (mean scores, 32.6, 31.2, 30.0, and 29.2, respectively). Globally, more than 40 percent of patients reported that vitiligo frequently affected aspects of their daily lives, including choice of clothes to wear (55.2 percent). Overall, 59.4 percent of patients reported frequently concealing their vitiligo. Diagnosed mental health conditions were reported by 58.7 percent of patients and included anxiety and depression (28.8 and 24.5 percent, respectively). Moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms were identified in 55.0 percent of patients, with the highest rates seen among patients in India, among those with more than 5 percent affected BSA, and in patients with darker skin (89.4, 72.0, and 68.3 percent, respectively).

"Findings highlight the need to prioritize reduction in the psychosocial burden of vitiligo and increase efforts to educate patients and health care professionals on vitiligo, particularly in countries where patients experience the highest burden," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed ties to the biopharmaceutical industry, including Incyte Corporation, which funded the study.


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