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FDA approves new treatment for vitiligo patients

Posted at 10:46 PM, Nov 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-19 23:46:33-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It's estimated more than 1 million Americans suffer from vitiligo, a disease that causes discolored patches of the skin.  

Driscoll Children’s Hospital tells KRIS 6 News there has been a rise in the number of children who are diagnosed with vitiligo. 

Brendon Castrejon is only one young boy who manages this condition. 

“When people ask me. What’s the white spots on your skin. I say it’s a skin condition called vitiligo. It discolors your skin,” said Castrejon. 

Brendon’s mom, Desiree Lerma said she first noticed something was wrong a year ago. Within 6 months Brendon’s vitiligo spread to his feet, his hands, and his face. 

“You don’t really know what to expect at his age. I think it’s a little bit harder for him to understand that what he has is untreatable,” Lerma said.

At 11 years old. Brendon goes to Driscoll Children’s Hospital twice a week for therapy to treat his vitiligo. 

“Getting him ready to do the phototherapy took longer,” explained Lerma. “The actual photo therapy took like 45 seconds.”

Pediatric Dermatologist, Emily Becker explains how tough it is to treat this skin condition. 

“Our existing treatments options for vitiligo right now includes topical medication like topical steroids. They have their own set of side effects,” said Becker.

With the FDA approving opzelura cream this year, for the treatment of  vitiligo in adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older.

Becker said this will improve the quality of life for patients.

“At about 24 weeks. The majority of our patients, around 30% achieved 75% improvement in their vitiligo,” Becker said. 

In two weeks Brendon will turn 12 and that means he’ll be old enough to be prescribed  opzelura. 

“He knows it’s not curable but if it helps clear up some of those spots gains little bit of color. I think he’s open to anything,” Lerma said. 

Vitiligo patients will need to see their dermatologist or a specialist to be prescribed this new topical treatment. 

To learn more about its effectiveness, click here.