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1.  Vitiligo in adults and children 
Clinical Evidence  2008;2008:1717.
Introduction
Vitiligo is an acquired skin disorder characterised by white (depigmented) patches in the skin, due to the loss of functioning melanocytes. The extent and distribution of vitiligo often changes during the course of a person's lifetime and its progression is unpredictable.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of medical treatments, and of ultraviolet light treatments, for vitiligo in children and in adults? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and other important databases up to March 2007 (BMJ Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 25 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: corticosteroids, oral levamisole, topical immunomodulators, topical Vitamin D analogues, ultraviolet A plus psoralen (PUVA), and ultraviolet B (narrowband, and broadband).
Key Points
Vitiligo is an acquired skin disorder characterised by white (depigmented) patches in the skin, caused by the loss of functioning melanocytes. Vitiligo patches can appear anywhere on the skin, but common sites are usually around the orifices, the genitals, or sun-exposed areas such as the face and hands.The extent and distribution of vitiligo often changes during the course of a person's lifetime, and its progression is unpredictable.
Limited courses of potent topical corticosteroids are a safe and effective therapy for localised vitiligo and are often the first-choice treatment for this. The consensus is that adverse effects of oral corticosteroids outweigh the benefits in vitiligo. There is currently insufficient evidence available to assess their effectiveness.
Narrowband UVB is considered a safe and effective therapy for moderate to severe generalised vitiligo and is often the first-choice treatment for this.
Tacrolimus requires further evaluation, but is well tolerated in children and adults without the long-term adverse effects of topical corticosteroids. There is currently insufficient evidence available to assess other immunomodulators in vitiligo.
Vitiligo patches in certain body areas, such as the acral sites, palms and soles, lips, mucosa, and nipples, and segmental forms in any area are relatively resistant to all conventional treatment modalities. In these cases, counselling and cosmetic camouflage become a priority, and often no treatments are advocated.
There is insufficient evidence to assess topical vitamin D analogues, levamisole, and broadband UVB in vitiligo.
Consensus is that for the treatment of vitiligo in adults, oral PUVA is effective, whereas topical PUVA is unlikely to be effective. However, topical PUVA has fewer adverse effects than oral PUVA. PUVA is likely to be harmful in children.
PMCID: PMC2907927  PMID: 19450313
2.  Vitiligo in adults and children 
Clinical Evidence  2011;2011:1717.
Introduction
Vitiligo is an acquired skin disorder characterised by white (depigmented) patches in the skin, due to the loss of functioning melanocytes. The extent and distribution of vitiligo often changes during the course of a person's lifetime and its progression is unpredictable.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of medical treatments, and of ultraviolet light treatments, for vitiligo in adults and in children? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to March 2010 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Results
We found 25 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
Conclusions
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: corticosteroids (oral and topical), oral levamisole, topical immunomodulators, topical vitamin D analogues, ultraviolet A plus psoralen (PUVA [oral or topical]), and ultraviolet B (narrowband).
Key Points
Vitiligo is an acquired skin disorder characterised by white (depigmented) patches in the skin, caused by the loss of functioning melanocytes. Vitiligo patches can appear anywhere on the skin, but common sites are usually around the orifices, the genitals, or sun-exposed areas such as the face and hands.The extent and distribution of vitiligo often changes during the course of a person's lifetime, and its progression is unpredictable.
Limited courses of potent topical corticosteroids in adults and children are a safe and effective therapy for localised vitiligo and are often the first-choice treatment for this disorder. The consensus is that adverse effects of oral corticosteroids in adults and children outweigh the benefits in vitiligo. There is currently insufficient RCT evidence available to assess their effectiveness.
Narrowband ultraviolet B in adults and children is considered a safe and effective therapy for moderate to severe generalised vitiligo and is often the first-choice treatment for this disorder.
Tacrolimus requires further evaluation, but is well tolerated in children and adults without the long-term adverse effects of topical corticosteroids. There is currently insufficient RCT evidence available to assess other immunomodulators in vitiligo.
There is insufficient RCT evidence to fully assess levamisole or topical vitamin D analogues in vitiligo in children or in adults.
Consensus is that for the treatment of vitiligo in adults, oral psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA) is effective, whereas topical PUVA is unlikely to be effective. However, topical PUVA has fewer adverse effects than oral PUVA. PUVA is likely to be harmful in children.
Vitiligo patches in certain body areas, such as the acral sites, palms and soles, lips, mucosa, and nipples, and segmental forms in any area are relatively resistant to all conventional treatment modalities. In these cases, counselling and cosmetic camouflage become a priority, and often no treatments are advocated.
PMCID: PMC3217714  PMID: 21439099
3.  Cost Effectiveness of Natural Health Products: A Systematic Review of Randomized Clinical Trials 
Health care spending in North America is consuming an ever-increasing share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). A large proportion of alternative health care is consumed in the form of natural health products (NHPs). The question of whether or not NHPs may provide a cost-effective choice in the treatment of disease is important for patients, physicians and policy makers. The objective of this study was to conduct a systematic review of the literature in order to find, appraise and summarize high-quality studies that explore the cost effectiveness of NHPs as compared to conventional medicine. The following databases were searched independently in duplicate from inception to January 1, 2006: EMBASE, MEDLINE, CINAHL, BioethicsLine, Wilson General Science abstracts, EconLit, Cochrane Library, ABI/Inform and SciSearch. To be included in the review, trials had to be randomized, assessed for some measure of cost effectiveness and include the use of NHPs as defined by the Natural Health Products Directorate. Studies dealing with diseases due to malnutrition were excluded from appraisal. The pooled searches unveiled nine articles that fit the inclusion/exclusion criteria. The conditions assessed by the studies included three on postoperative complications, two on cardiovascular disease, two on gastrointestinal disorders, one on critically ill patients and one on urinary tract infections. Heterogeneity between the studies was too great to allow for meta-analysis of the results. The use of NHPs shows evidence of cost effectiveness in relation to postoperative surgery but not with respect to the other conditions assessed. In conclusion, NHPs may be of use in preventing complications associated with surgery. The cost effectiveness of some NHPs is encouraging in certain areas but needs confirmation from further research.
doi:10.1093/ecam/nem167
PMCID: PMC2722206  PMID: 18955290
CAM; complementary and alternative medicine; cost effectiveness; natural health products; NHPs
4.  Future research into the treatment of vitiligo: where should our priorities lie? Results of the vitiligo priority setting partnership 
The British Journal of Dermatology  2011;164(3):530-536.
Background
Vitiligo is the most frequent depigmentation disorder of the skin and is cosmetically and psychologically devastating. A recently updated Cochrane systematic review ‘Interventions for vitiligo’ showed that the research evidence for treatment of vitiligo is poor, making it difficult to make firm recommendations for clinical practice.
Objectives
To stimulate and steer future research in the field of vitiligo treatment, by identifying the 10 most important research areas for patients and clinicians.
Methods
A vitiligo priority setting partnership was established including patients, healthcare professionals and researchers with an interest in vitiligo. Vitiligo treatment uncertainties were gathered from patients and clinicians, and then prioritized in a transparent process, using a methodology advocated by the James Lind Alliance.
Results
In total, 660 treatment uncertainties were submitted by 461 participants. These were reduced to a list of the 23 most popular topics through an online/paper voting process. The 23 were then prioritized at a face-to-face workshop in London. The final list of the top 10 treatment uncertainties included interventions such as systemic immunosuppressants, topical treatments, light therapy, melanocyte-stimulating hormone analogues, gene therapy, and the impact of psychological interventions on the quality of life of patients with vitiligo.
Conclusions
The top 10 research areas for the treatment of vitiligo provide guidance for researchers and funding bodies, to ensure that future research answers questions that are important both to clinicians and to patients.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2133.2010.10160.x
PMCID: PMC3084501  PMID: 21128908
5.  Ginkgo biloba for the treatment of vitilgo vulgaris: an open label pilot clinical trial 
Background
Vitiligo is a common hypopigmentation disorder with significant psychological impact if occurring before adulthood. A pilot clinical trial to determine the feasibility of an RCT was conducted and is reported here.
Methods
12 participants 12 to 35 years old were recruited to a prospective open-label pilot trial and treated with 60 mg of standardized G. biloba two times per day for 12 weeks. The criteria for feasibility included successful recruitment, 75% or greater retention, effectiveness and lack of serious adverse reactions. Effectiveness was assessed using the Vitiligo Area Scoring Index (VASI) and the Vitiligo European Task Force (VETF), which are validated outcome measures evaluating the area and intensity of depigmentation of vitiligo lesions. Other outcomes included photographs and adverse reactions. Safety was assessed by serum coagulation factors (platelets, PTT, INR) at baseline and week 12.
Results
After 2 months of recruitment, the eligible upper age limit was raised from 18 to 35 years of age in order to facilitate recruitment of the required sample size. Eleven participants completed the trial with 85% or greater adherence to the protocol. The total VASI score improved by 0.5 (P = 0.021) from 5.0 to 4.5, range of scale 0 (no depigmentation) to 100 (completely depigmented). The progression of vitiligo stopped in all participants; the total VASI indicated an average repigmentation of vitiligo lesions of 15%. VETF total vitiligo lesion area decreased 0.4% (P = 0.102) from 5.9 to 5.6 from baseline to week 12. VETF staging score improved by 0.7 (P = 0.101) from 6.6 to 5.8, and the VETF spreading score improved by 3.9 (P < 0.001)) from 2.7 to -1.2. There were no statistically significant changes in platelet count, PTT, or INR.
Conclusions
The criteria for feasibility were met after increasing the maximum age limit of the successful recruitment criterion; participant retention, safety and effectiveness criteria were also met. Ingestion of 60 mg of Ginkgo biloba BID was associated with a significant improvement in total VASI vitiligo measures and VETF spread, and a trend towards improvement on VETF measures of vitiligo lesion area and staging. Larger, randomized double-blind clinical studies are warranted and appear feasible.
Trial Registration
Clinical trials.gov registration number NCT00907062
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-11-21
PMCID: PMC3065445  PMID: 21406109
6.  Evaluating the Quality of Randomized Controlled Trials that Examine the Efficacy of Natural Health Products: A Systematic Review of Critical Appraisal Instruments 
The purpose of this project was to conduct a systematic review to identify instruments designed to evaluate the quality of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of natural health products (NHPs). Instruments were examined for inclusion of items assessing methods, identity and content of the NHP, generalizability of results and instructions for use. Online databases, websites, textbooks and reference lists were searched to identify instruments. Relevance assessment and data extraction of articles were completed by two investigators and disagreements were settled by the third investigator. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Of the 4442 citations identified, 29 were potentially relevant with 16 meeting the criteria for inclusion. None of the instruments stated they were validated; content in the four areas of interest varied considerably. The most common items included randomization sequence generation (100%), blinding (100%), allocation concealment (75%) and participant flow (75%). Only nine of the NHP instruments included at least one item to appraise the specific content of the NHP. The CONSORT Statement for Herbal Interventions most closely addressed the four areas of interest; however, this instrument was specific for herbs. There is a need for the development of a validated instrument for assessment of the quality of RCTs that would be useful for herbs as well as other NHPs.
doi:10.1093/ecam/nem186
PMCID: PMC2781780  PMID: 18955310
Checklists; herbs; quality assessment
7.  Nutrient- and non-nutrient-based natural health product (NHP) use in adults with mood disorders: prevalence, characteristics and potential for exposure to adverse events 
Background
To address knowledge gaps regarding natural health product (NHP) usage in mental health populations, we examined their use in adults with mood disorders, and explored the potential for adverse events.
Methods
Food and NHP intake was obtained from 97 adults with mood disorders. NHP data was used to compare prevalence with population norms (British Columbia Nutrition Survey; BCNS). Bivariate and regression analyses examined factors associated with NHP use. Assessment of potential adverse effects of NHP use was based on comparing nutrient intakes from food plus supplements with the Dietary Reference Intakes and by reviewing databases for reported adverse health effects.
Results
Two-thirds (66%; 95% CI 56 to 75) were taking at least one NHP; 58% (95% CI 47 to 68) were taking NHPs in combination with psychiatric medications. The proportion of each type of NHP used was generally higher than the BCNS (range of p’s < 0.05 to 0.0001). When intakes from food and NHP sources were combined, a small proportion exceeded any Lowest-Observed-Adverse-Effect-Levels: only for niacin (n = 17) and magnesium (n = 6), two nutrients for which the potential for adverse effects is minimal. Conversely, about 38% (95% CI 28 to 49) of the sample were taking a non-nutrient based NHP for which previous adverse events had been documented.
Conclusions
The prevalent use of NHPs in this population suggests that health care providers need to be knowledgeable about their characteristics. The efficacy and safety of NHPs in relation to mental health warrants further investigation.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-80
PMCID: PMC3626531  PMID: 23570306
Natural health products; Adverse events; Mood disorders
8.  The Prevalence of Natural Health Product Use in Patients with Acute Cardiovascular Disease 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e19623.
Background
Natural health products (NHP) use may have implications with respect to adverse effects, drug interactions and adherence yet the prevalence of NHP use by patients with acute cardiovascular disease and the best method to ascertain this information is unknown.
Objective
To identify the best method to ascertain information on NHP, and the prevalence of use in a population with acute cardiovascular disease.
Methods
Structured interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of consecutive patients admitted with acute cardiovascular disease to the University of Alberta Hospital during January 2009. NHP use was explored using structured and open-ended questions based on Health Canada's definition of NHP. The medical record was reviewed, and documentation of NHP use by physicians, nurses, and pharmacists, compared against the gold-standard structured interview.
Results
88 patients were interviewed (mean age 62 years, standard deviation [SD 14]; 80% male; 41% admitted for acute coronary syndromes). Common co-morbidities included hypertension (59%), diabetes (26%) and renal impairment (19%). NHP use was common (78% of patients) and 75% of NHP users reported daily use. The category of NHP most commonly used was vitamins and minerals (73%) followed by herbal products (20%), traditional medicines including Chinese medicines (9%), homeopathic preparations (1%) and other products including amino acids, essential fatty acids and probiotics (35%). In a multivariable model, only older age was associated with increased NHP use (OR 1.5 per age decile [95%CI 1.03 to 2.2]). When compared to the interview, the highest rate of NHP documentation was the pharmacist history (41%). NHP were documented in 22% of patients by the physician and 19% by the nurse.
Conclusions
NHP use is common in patients admitted with acute cardiovascular disease. However, health professionals do not commonly identify NHP as part of the medication profile despite its potential importance. Structured interview appears to be the best method to accurately identify patient use of NHP.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019623
PMCID: PMC3090400  PMID: 21573067
9.  The Vitiligo in Senegal 
ISRN Dermatology  2012;2012:932163.
The aim of our study was to determine the epidemiological and clinical aspects of vitiligo in the largest dermatology department of Senegal. A cross-sectional and descriptive study in a period of 5 months was performed covering all the vitiligo cases. Fifty patients were identified (26 women and 24 men). The mean age was 26.5 years. A family history of vitiligo was found in 11 cases and a psychoaffective disturbance in 6 cases. The clinical forms distinguished were generalized vitiligo (n = 33), localized vitiligo (n = 16), vitiligo universalis (n = 4), and segmental vitiligo (n = 1). The Koebner phenomenon was found in 7 cases. Associated diseases were atopic dermatitis (n = 2), contact dermatitis (n = 1), diabetes (n = 1), and Graves' disease (n = 1). The disgraceful character of Vitiligo was the predominance of generalized forms and the elective localization in sun-exposed areas. The family character, the psychoaffective disturbances, the Koebner phenomenon increased by the lifestyle and the itching dermatosis were the aggravating factors.
doi:10.5402/2012/932163
PMCID: PMC3265217  PMID: 22363865
10.  Use of natural health products in children 
Canadian Family Physician  2013;59(8):e364-e371.
Abstract
Objective
To determine how common it is for parents to give natural health products (NHPs) to their children, which NHPs are being used, why they are being used, and parents’ assessments of the benefits and side effects of NHPs.
Design
Survey.
Setting
Newfoundland and Labrador.
Participants
Parents waiting in their family doctors’ offices.
Main outcome measures
Parent and child demographic characteristics; pediatric chronic medical conditions affecting the children; prescribed medications, over-the-counter medications, and NHPs used by the children; why the medications and NHPs were being used, the dose, and parents’ assessments of the effectiveness and side effects; and where parents had heard about the NHPs, whether they had told their physicians that the children were taking the products, and where they had obtained the products.
Results
A total of 202 (53.4%) of the 378 eligible adults who were approached completed the survey. This represented 333 children. Mean (SD) age of the children was 5.1 (3.3) years. Overall, 28.7% of parents reported using nonvitamin NHPs for their children. A total of 137 children (41.1%) had taken NHPs (including vitamins); 61.1% of the NHPs being used were vitamins. The remainder fell under teas (primarily chamomile and green teas), echinacea, fish or omega-3 oils, and a large category of “other” products. These NHPs were most commonly used to improve general health, improve immunity, and prevent colds and infections. Approximately half of the parents (51.7%) believed their children had benefited from taking NHPs, and 4.4% believed their children had experienced adverse side effects. Slightly less than half of the parents (45.0%) had informed their physicians that their children were taking NHPs.
Conclusion
Overall, 45.5% of parents attending physicians’ offices reported using NHPs in their children. If vitamins are not included in the definition of NHPs, this rate drops to 28.7%. Parents most commonly use NHPs to maintain the general health of their children, to prevent colds, and to boost children’s immune systems. About half of the parents believed the NHPs helped, very few had noticed any side effects, and approximately half had informed their physicians that they were giving their children NHPs.
PMCID: PMC3743713  PMID: 23946043
11.  Short-term Effects of 308-nm Xenon-chloride Excimer Laser and Narrow-band Ultraviolet B in the Treatment of Vitiligo: A Comparative Study 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2005;20(2):273-278.
We compared the clinical efficacy of a short-term intervention of 308-nm excimer laser with that of narrow-band UVB (NBUVB) phototherapy for vitiligo patients to see the early response. Twenty-three symmetrically patterned patches of vitiligo on 8 patients were selected. Vitiligo patches on one side of the body were treated 2 times per week for a maximum of 20 treatments with the excimer laser, and NBUVB phototherapy was used on patches on the other side. Improvement (repigmentation) was assessed on a visual scale via serial photographs taken every five treatments and scored as follows: 0, ≤1% improvement; 1, ≤25% improvement; 2, 26-50% improvement; 3, 51-75% improvement; and 4, ≥75% improvement. At five treatments, the excimer laser-treated patches had an average score of 0.26, compared with 0.04 for patches treated with NBUVB phototherapy. A slightly higher repigmentation (p>0.05) in the excimer treated area was thus observed. At 10, 15, or 20 treatments, the differences between the average scores were significant: 0.83, 1.17, and 1.39 for the excimer-treated patches, and 0.17, 0.30, and 0.74 for the NBUVB phototherapy-treated areas (p<0.05). In conclusion, the 308-nm excimer laser appears to be more effective than NBUVB phototherapy, as it produces more rapid and profound repigmentation.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2005.20.2.273
PMCID: PMC2808605  PMID: 15832000
Vitiligo; 308-nm Excimer Laser; Laser Therapy, Low-Level; Narrow Band UVB; Phototherapy; Ultraviolet Therapy
12.  The Ethics of Dietary Supplements and Natural Health Products in Pharmacy Practice: A Systematic Documentary Analysis 
Aims and Objectives
Many natural health products (NHPs) and dietary supplements (DS) are purchased in pharmacies and it has been argued that pharmacists are in the best position to provide patients with evidence-based information about them. This study was designed to identify how the pharmacist’s role with respect to NHPs/DS is portrayed in the literature.
Method
A systematic search was conducted in a variety of health databases to identify all literature that pertained to both pharmacy and NHPs/DS. Of the 786 articles identified, 665 were broad-coded and 259 were subjected to in-depth qualitative content analysis for emergent themes.
Key Findings
Overwhelmingly, support for the sale of NHPs/DS in pharmacies is strong. Additionally, a role for pharmacists in NHP/DS counselling is underscored. But another recurrent theme is that pharmacists are ill-equipped to counsel patients about these products that are available on their shelves. This situation has led some to question the ethics of pharmacists selling NHPs/DS and to highlight the existence of an ethical conflict stemming from the profit-motive associated with NHP/DS sales.
Conclusion
This analysis raises concerns about the ethics of NHPs/DS being sold in pharmacies, and about pharmacists being expected to counsel about products of which they have little knowledge.
PMCID: PMC2918535  PMID: 20218027 CAMSID: cams1317
13.  Disease Severity Indexes and Treatment Evaluation Criteria in Vitiligo 
There is a current lack of consensus regarding methods of assessment of vitiligo. Recently, the Vitiligo Area Scoring Index (VASI) and the Vitiligo European Task Force (VETF) were proposed to offer more accurate measures of disease severity indexes and treatment evaluation criteria. It would make sense to combine the VASI with the VETF system. We proposed an original scale for treatment evaluation criteria in vitiligo based on VASI. We plan to add the digital image analysis system, health-related quality of life questionnaire, affected skin location, and skin color in the original scale.
doi:10.1155/2011/750342
PMCID: PMC3130989  PMID: 21747840
14.  The Canadian Natural Health Products (NHP) regulations: industry perceptions and compliance factors 
Background
The use of natural health products, such as vitamins, minerals, and herbs, by Canadians has been increasing with time. As a result of consumer concern about the quality of these products, the Canadian Department of Health created the Natural Health Products (NHP) Regulations. The new Canadian regulations raise questions about whether and how the NHP industry will be able to comply and what impact they will have on market structure. The objectives of this study were to explore who in the interview sample is complying with Canada's new NHP Regulations (i.e., submitted product licensing applications on time); and explore the factors that affect regulatory compliance.
Methods
Twenty key informant interviews were conducted with employees of the NHP industry. The structured interviews focused on the level of satisfaction with the Regulations and perceptions of compliance and non-compliance. Interviews were tape recorded and then transcribed verbatim. Data were independently coded, using qualitative content analysis. Team meetings were held after every three to four interviews to discuss emerging themes.
Results
The major finding of this study is that most (17 out of 20) companies interviewed were beginning to comply with the new regulatory regime. The factors that contribute to likelihood of regulatory compliance were: perceptions and knowledge of the regulations and business size.
Conclusion
The Canadian case can be instructive for other countries seeking to implement regulatory standards for natural health products. An unintended consequence of the Canadian NHP regulations may be the exit of smaller firms, leading to industry consolidation.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-6-63
PMCID: PMC1524757  PMID: 16734916
15.  Use of natural health products in children 
Canadian Family Physician  2013;59(8):e357-e363.
Abstract
Objective
To determine the experiences of family physicians in Newfoundland and Labrador with parents’ use of natural health products (NHPs) for their children and to assess physicians’ attitudes toward use of NHPs in children.
Design
A survey using the Dillman approach.
Setting
Newfoundland and Labrador.
Participants
All family physicians in the province.
Main outcome measures
Physician demographic characteristics; whether physicians inquire about the use of NHPs in children; the degree to which they think patients disclose use of NHPs in children; whether they counsel parents about the potential benefits or harms of NHPs; their own opinions about the usefulness of NHPs; whether they recommend NHPs in children and for what reasons; and the particular NHPs they have seen used in children and for what reasons.
Results
A total of 159 (33.1%) family physicians responded; 65.4% were men, 71.7% were Canadian medical graduates, and 46.5% practised in rural areas. Overall, 18.8% of family physicians said they regularly or frequently asked about NHP use; 24.7% counseled patients about potential harms. Only 1.9% of physicians believed NHPs were usually beneficial, but a similarly small number (8.4%) thought they were usually harmful. Most respondents were somewhat neutral; 59.7% said they never recommend NHPs for children, and a further 37.0% said they would only “sometimes” recommend NHPs.
Conclusion
Most physicians believed that NHPs were probably of little benefit but not likely to be harmful. Most NHPs used were vitamins and minerals. Physicians recognized that NHPs were often used by parents for children, but in general they believed NHPs had little effect on their day-to-day medical practices. Thirty-eight (24.7%) of the 154 physicians had at least once recommended an NHP (including vitamins) for their pediatric patients. Physicians believed that parents did not often disclose use of NHPs for their children, but at the same time physicians generally did not actively inquire.
PMCID: PMC3743712  PMID: 23946042
16.  Ethnopharmacology and integrative medicine – Let the history tell the future 
Traditional systems of medicines need more evidence-based studies on both crude drugs and purified phytomolecules. Utilization of natural products as pharmacological tools could lead to a number of new major therapeutically active metabolites. Lead molecules are further screened for their potential in terms of quality control, safety assessments, and studies about molecular pharmacology and their related properties. Identification, and quality and safety evaluation of natural products, is a fundamental requirement of industry and other organizations dealing with natural health products (NHPs). Marker analysis, based on chemo-profiling and development of characteristic fingerprints for individual plants, could help to develop uniform standardization tools. Beside such evaluations of clinical parameters, safety profiles as well as drug–herb and herb–herb interactions are the most important parameters for assessment and promotion. With the steady growth of the NHPs, advanced analytical- and mechanism-based screening should be considered for their promotion and value addition in every way for the betterment of healthcare. Thus, there is an urgent need for the development of international co-ordination to promote and develop NHPs, including their assessment, perspectives, pharmacovigilance, and potential harmonization of regulation, quality control and clinical uses.
doi:10.4103/0975-9476.65077
PMCID: PMC3151376  PMID: 21836796
Ethnopharmacology; integrated approach; Ayurveda; Indian system of medicine
17.  Depigmentation Therapy with Q-Switched Nd: YAG Laser in Universal Vitiligo 
Background:
Any residual pigment left in patients of universal vitiligo is managed with topical treatments, cryotherapy, and lasers.
Aim:
The study aims to assess the efficacy and safety of Q-switched Nd: YAG laser in treating the residual pigmentation in patients with universal vitiligo.
Materials and Methods:
Fifteen patients of universal vitiligo with residual pigmentation on the face, hands, or feet, resistant to topical treatments, were treated with single or multiple sessions of Q-switched Nd: YAG laser treatment. Topical treatments were continued in between the laser sessions and the depigmentation achieved was monitored by clinical examination and repeat digital photographs. Response to the treatment was labelled as excellent if the residual pigment could be reduced by at least 90% while 50–90% resolution of pigmentation was labelled as a partial response. Adverse effects to the treatment offered were also monitored.
Results:
Thirteen of the 15 patients enrolled for the study showed an excellent response to the treatment offered. Two other patients showed a poor response with less than 50% resolution of pigmentation. The number of laser sessions needed at a particular site ranged from 1 to 3 and no patient was offered more than three sessions of laser treatment at any site. No significant adverse events were reported by any patient.
Conclusions:
Residual pigmentation in patients with universal vitiligo that does not respond to topical treatment options alone can be managed quite effectively with Q-switched Nd: YAG laser without any significant adverse effects.
doi:10.4103/0974-2077.112670
PMCID: PMC3764769  PMID: 24023431
Depigmentation; lasers; Q-switched Nd: YAG laser; treatment; vitiligo
18.  Split Thickness Skin Grafting in Patients with Stable Vitiligo 
Background:
Vitiligo is an acquired disorder of depigmentation. Various surgical modalities are recommended for quicker resolution of lesions in stable cases.
Aim:
To report the efficacy of split thickness skin grafting in a series of 50 patients with stable vitiligo.
Materials and Methods:
Fifty patients with stable vitiligo, not responding to adequate trial of medical line of treatment were taken in this prospective study. After doing complete investigations, including coagulogram, they were subjected to split thickness skin grafting.
Result:
Satisfactory cosmetic results were obtained in all cases. Colour match was good with minimal complications reported.
Conclusion:
Split thickness skin grafting remains a promising option for patients with stable recalcitrant vitiligo.
Limitations:
Comparison of efficacy and side effects of various vitiligo surgical modalities was not done.
doi:10.4103/0974-2077.79189
PMCID: PMC3081483  PMID: 21572680
Repigmentation:; split thickness skin grafting; vitiligo
19.  Vitiligo vulgaris and autoimmune diseases in Japan 
Dermato-endocrinology  2009;1(1):43-45.
We reviewed the causes of “loss of skin color” in 144 patients, who visited Vitiligo Clinic of Kyoto University Hospital between April 2005 and August 2008. The numbers of patients with generalized and segmental Vitiligo vulgaris were 98 (68.1%) and 26 (18.1%), respectively. Small numbers of the patients suffered from Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease, piebaldism, congenital albinism, Hypomelanosis of Ito, post-inflammatory hypopigmentation, white leaf-shaped macules associated with tuberous sclerosis and nevus hypopigmentosus. One forth of the patients with generalized vitiligo had complications, while no complications were found in the patients with segmental vitiligo. Among the complications, autoimmune diseases dominated 43% (10 of 23 cases). Autoimmune thyroid diseases explained for the most of the complicated autoimmune diseases and were associated with 7.4% of the patients with generalized vitiligo. Minor autoimmune complications include myasthenia gravis, Sjogren syndrome and autoimmune nephritis. Reflecting the condition that our clinic is located in a university hospital, vitiligo patients with end-stage non-melanoma cancers of internal organs accounted for 8.4% of the patients of generalized vitiligo.
PMCID: PMC2715204  PMID: 20046588
vitiligo; autoimmune disease; thyroid disease; Japanese
20.  Revised classification/nomenclature of vitiligo and related issues: the Vitiligo Global Issues Consensus Conference 
Summary
During the 2011 International Pigment Cell Conference (IPCC), the Vitiligo European Taskforce (VETF) convened a consensus conference on issues of global importance for vitiligo clinical research. As suggested by an international panel of experts, the conference focused on four topics: classification and nomenclature; definition of stable disease; definition of Koebner’s phenomenon (KP); and ‘autoimmune vitiligo’. These topics were discussed in seven working groups representing different geographical regions. A consensus emerged that segmental vitiligo be classified separately from all other forms of vitiligo and that the term ‘vitiligo’ be used as an umbrella term for all non-segmental forms of vitiligo, including ‘mixed vitiligo’ in which segmental and non-segmental vitiligo are combined and which is considered a subgroup of vitiligo. Further, the conference recommends that disease stability be best assessed based on the stability of individual lesions rather than the overall stability of the disease as the latter is difficult to define precisely and reliably. The conference also endorsed the classification of KP for vitiligo as proposed by the VETF (history based, clinical observation based, or experimentally induced). Lastly, the conference agreed that ‘autoimmune vitiligo’ should not be used as a separate classification as published evidence indicates that the pathophysiology of all forms of vitiligo likely involves autoimmune or inflammatory mechanisms.
doi:10.1111/j.1755-148X.2012.00997.x
PMCID: PMC3511780  PMID: 22417114
vitiligo; consensus conference
21.  Successful Treatment of Extensive Vitiligo with Monobenzone 
Vitiligo is one of the most common dermatological disorders, appearing as one or more white macules or patches and affecting up to two percent of the population worldwide. The undesirable aesthetic properties of vitiligo, especially facial, may result in significant negative psychosocial effects, particularly a rate of depression twice that of the general population. While there is no cure, there are several treatment options, notably depigmentation in severe cases. Monobenzone is the most potent depigmenting agent. However, its use is limited due to the permanent and potent nature of the drug. This case presents an example of when timely and aggressive treatment with monobenzone is warranted, demonstrating excellent clinical response, which resulted in a significant increase in the quality of life in a patient with severe vitiligo.
PMCID: PMC3533321  PMID: 23277803
22.  Phototherapy in Vitiligo: Assessing the Compliance, Response and Patient's Perception about Disease and Treatment 
Context:
Vitiligo is a chronic, benign, but emotionally frustrating autoimmune disorder of depigmentation, with an incidence of 0.25-2.5% in India, the treatment of which is equally frustrating to the patient, as well as the doctor. Phototherapy is the first line treatment in many cases, which needs to be given at frequent sittings for long periods of time. As there is no satisfactory, short term treatment, many vitiligo patients, though enthusiastic in the beginning, become defaulters after a few weeks or months.
Aims:
This study was conducted to assess the compliance to phototherapy (PUVA and NB-UVB), determine the reasons for non-compliance, to calculate the overall response to phototherapy and to know about the patients’ perception about improvement of lesions.
Materials and Methods:
All files of the patients who attended phototherapy for Vitiligo in the department for a period of 4 years from January 2007 were analyzed and the patients were contacted via mail or telephone and were made to answer questionnaire regarding their disease.
Conclusions:
At the end of this retrospective questionnaire based study we concluded that only a quarter of the patients underwent regular phototherapy, among which the younger patients and those with widespread disease and facial lesions were more compliant. Educational status and sex had no impact on default status.
doi:10.4103/0019-5154.113944
PMCID: PMC3726895  PMID: 23919018
Adherence; compliance; phototherapy; vitiligo
23.  Segmental and Generalized Vitiligo: Both Forms Demonstrate Inflammatory Histopathological Features and Clinical Mosaicism 
Indian Journal of Dermatology  2013;58(6):433-438.
Background:
Segmental vitiligo (SV) and generalized vitiligo (GV) are perceived to evolve by different mechanisms, the former with unspecified neural mechanisms and the latter by melanocyte specific autoimmune mechanisms. However, the two diverse mechanisms are difficult to reconcile in cases of “mixed vitiligo”. To test the possibility of a common pathogenesis, we reviewed clinical and histopathological features of SV and GV.
Materials and Methods:
As part of an ongoing histopathological study on vitiligo and vitiligo like lesions, over a 10 year period from 2002 to 2011, biopsies were taken routinely from evolving or recently evolved lesions. 50 cases of SV with quasi-dermatomal distribution and 154 cases of GV were identified and the clinical and histopathological features were compared.
Results:
Mild clinical inflammation was recorded in 33 of 154 GV cases but, none among 50 SV had such features. In addition to bilateral symmetrical involvement, mirror image lesions with unusual segmentation were observed in nine cases of GV. SV with a few bilateral lesions (4) and GV with quasi-dermatomal lesions (3), i.e., mixed vitiligo, were included in their corresponding groups for analytical purposes. Focal lichenoid inflammation of varying degrees around epidermal/adnexal melanocytes was identified as a common feature in evolving lesions of both SV (78%) and GV (70%).
Conclusions:
SV and GV demonstrated a similar inflammatory histopathological spectrum. “Segmentation/mosaicism”, identified for the first time in GV is another unifying factor. Cutaneous mosaicism harboring fragile melanocyte populations, which are susceptible to external as well as auto-inflammatory mechanisms, is an attractive hypothesis to pursue in the causation of vitiligo.
doi:10.4103/0019-5154.119949
PMCID: PMC3827513  PMID: 24249893
Generalized vitiligo; lichenoid inflammation; segmental vitiligo; segmentation/mosaicism
24.  Roles and Responsibilities of Pharmacists with Respect to Natural Health Products: Key Informant Interviews 
Background
Although many pharmacies sell natural health products (NHPs), there is no clear definition as to the roles and responsibilities (if any) of pharmacists with respect to these products.
Objective
The purpose of this study was to explore pharmacy and stakeholder leaders’ perceptions of pharmacists’ professional NHP roles and responsibilities.
Methods
Semi-structured key informant interviews were conducted with pharmacy leaders (n= 17) and stakeholder (n=18) leaders representing consumers, complementary and alternative medicine practitioners, conventional healthcare practitioners, and industry across Canada.
Results
Overwhelmingly all participants believed a main NHP responsibility for pharmacists was safety monitoring. One challenge identified in the interviews was pharmacists’ general lack of NHP knowledge. Stakeholder leaders did not expect pharmacists to be experts on NHPs, rather that pharmacists should have a basic level of knowledge about NHPs. Many pharmacy leaders appeared to be unfamiliar with current pharmacy policies and guidelines concerning NHPs.
Conclusion
Participants described pharmacists’ professional roles and responsibilities for NHPs as similar to those for over-the-counter drugs. More awareness of existing NHP-related pharmacy policies is needed. Pharmacy owners/managers should provide additional training to ensure front-line pharmacists have appropriate knowledge of NHPs sold in the pharmacy.
doi:10.1016/j.sapharm.2009.02.004
PMCID: PMC2923149  PMID: 20188329 CAMSID: cams1316
natural health products; pharmacists; professional roles and responsibilities
25.  Use of natural health products in children 
Canadian Family Physician  2013;59(8):e372-e378.
Abstract
Objective
To gain a more thorough understanding of why parents choose to give their children natural health products (NHPs), parents’ sources of information about NHPs, and the extent of disclosure and conversation with family doctors about the use of NHPs.
Design
Qualitative study.
Setting
Newfoundland and Labrador.
Participants
Parents of children who were using NHPs (N = 20).
Methods
Individual, semistructured interviews were carried out with parents to obtain a better understanding of the reasoning behind the use of NHPs. Key themes emerging from the qualitative data were identified according to a number of criteria, including relevance to the research objectives, frequency with which a theme was mentioned, relative importance of the themes based on the amount of text taken up to address an issue, and emphasis (eg, emphatic or emotional speech).
Main findings
The types of NHPs used by parents participating in this study varied, except for the use of multivitamins. In addition, use of the products themselves was variable and inconsistent. Parents reported few concerns about the use of NHPs. The most commonly reported source of information about NHPs was family and friends. Most participants had not spoken to their family doctors about the use of NHPs.
Conclusion
Participants considered NHPs to be “natural” and seemed to equate this assessment with safety. This might explain why these parents sought advice and information from family and friends rather than from their family doctors and often failed to disclose the use of NHPs to their children’s family doctors.
PMCID: PMC3743714  PMID: 23946044

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