Analysis Spotlights Economic Burden of Vitiligo in the US


Direct healthcare costs for patients with vitiligo eclipse those of matched control persons.


  • No published studies have quantified the medical costs and healthcare resource utilization (HCRU) among patients with vitiligo in the United States compared with the general population.

  • Drawing from the Merative MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database, researchers retrospectively reviewed the records of 49,512 patients diagnosed with vitiligo between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2020, and those of 99,024 matched control persons who did not have vitiligo.

  • Costs were in 2021 dollars during a 1-year post-index period. The student t test and chi square analysis were used to determine P values.


  • In both cohorts, the median age of patients was 43 years, 79.2% were female, and most (39%) were from the southern region of the United States.

  • All-cause total healthcare costs for patients with vitiligo were significantly higher than those of matched control persons ($15,551 vs $7735; P < .0001).

  • Similarly, medical costs for patients with vitiligo were significantly higher than those of control persons ($11,953 vs $5722), as were pharmacy costs ($3598 vs $2014; P < .001 for both associations).

  • A significantly greater proportion of patients with vitiligo had higher all-cause HCRU compared with matched control persons. That included ≥1 emergency department visits (17.5% vs 13.4%), ≥1 inpatient visits (12.9% vs 6.8%), and ≥1 outpatient visits (99.8% vs 88.3%; P < .0001 for all associations).


  • “These findings reveal an unmet need for cost-effective treatments and highlight the importance of fully identifying the drivers of economic burden for patients with vitiligo,” the authors concluded.


  • Corresponding author Khaled Ezzedine, MD, PhD, of the Department of Dermatology at the Henri Mondor University Hospital, Créteil, France, led the study, which was published September 20 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.


  • The investigators did not evaluate indirect medical costs of vitiligo, such as work productivity, early retirement, and lost opportunities. Also, the results may not be generalizable to populations outside of the United States.


  • Ezzedine has received honoraria as a consultant for AbbVie, Incyte, La Roche-Posay, Pfizer, Pierre Fabre, Sanofi, and Viela Bio. One author is an investigator for Incyte and is a consultant for several pharmaceutical companies. Three authors are AbbVie employees.

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