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Study Finds Association Between Vitiligo and Osteoporosis

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A poster presented at the 2023 ReV Virtual Conference explored the association between the 2 conditions.

Prateek/Adobe Stock
Prateek/Adobe Stock

An association between vitiligo and osteoporosis was noted in a recent study, according to a poster presented at the 2023 Revolutionizing Vitiligo (ReV) Virtual Conference on December 10, 2023.

One of the study's authors, Naama Cohen, shared the results in an oral presentation at the conference.

Both vitiligo and osteoporosis share common cytokine activity, study authors noted, with lower levels of vitamin D appearing in patients with both conditions. Thus, investigators sought to explore the relationship between these 2 conditions, noting that this relationship has never been studied in depth.

The retrospective cohort study utilized data from a health services database in Israel, Clalit Health Services. Data was collected from 2002 to 2018. Vitiligo diagnosis was based on a specific diagnostic code given by a dermatologist.

The study involved a control group, wherein patients with vitiligo were matched by age, sex, body mass index, smoking status, and ethnicity. The analysis involved approximately 20,000 patients with vitiligo and nearly 99,000 otherwise healthy control patients.

On average, the age of patients was approximately 33 years of age, with 51% of patients being female. Additionally, 72% of patients were Jewish.

During the follow-up time duration (a total of 110,000 person years), researchers noted 284 new onset cases of osteoporosis among patients with vitiligo, with 1,185 new onset cases reported among the control group.

This was indicative of a higher incidence rate (2.6 cases per 1,000 person years) versus that of the control group (2.2 cases per 1,000 person years).

According to the study, the main predictors of osteoporosis in patients with vitiligo included age at onset of vitiligo, female sex, Jewish ethnicity, hyperlipidemia, and obesity.

Potential study limitations included the use of a clinical diagnostic code for vitiligo diagnosis as opposed to a biopsy in some cases.

"Dermatologists and primary care physicians should be aware of this association," Cohen said. "Further epidemiological studies are needed to validate our results."

Reference

Cohen N et al. Vitiligo is Associated with New Onset Osteoporosis: A Population-Based Study. Poster presented at: 2023 Revolutionizing Vitiligo (ReV) Virtual Conference; December 10, 2023.

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