What is the role of afamelanotide in the treatment of vitiligo?

Updated: Oct 31, 2019
  • Author: Krista Roncone; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

Afamelanotide is an emerging treatment for vitiligo that is a long-lasting synthetic analog of alpha-melanocyte–stimulating hormone (α-MSH). [42, 43] Afamelanotide binds to the melanocortin-1 receptor and stimulates melanocyte proliferation and melanogenesis. The premise of the treatment the knowledge that patients with vitiligo exhibit defects in the melanocortin system, which manifest as decreased levels of α-MSH in both systemic circulation and skin lesions. [44] Afamelanotide is delivered as a subcutaneous implant. A 55-patient phase I/II study showed that when used in conjunction with NB-UVB, a 7- to 10-day release implant of 16 mg afamelantotide produced faster repigmentation of facial and upper extremity lesions than NB-UVB alone. Adverse reactions included hyperpigmentation of normal skin, nausea, and abdominal pain. [43, 45]


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