Vitiligo : Your Vitiligo Suppressed or Masked ?

In our day to day practice when we treat vitiligo in our clinics mostly it is seen that vitiligo is suppressed or hide by number of medicine, it is a serious matter and topic patient has to understand for his/her treatment.

This is our experience what we had in past years and even today also with patient who has taken immunosuppressive medicine in vitiligo treatment for short term to long term use.

Many patients who has taken nos of treatment for vitiligo,it may be allopathy, ayurvedic or homeopathic, their disease may have been masked by some immunosuppressive medicines, as described in this article.

Common diseases, which could be masked with other medicines :

  • Psoriasis
  • Urticaria
  • Nephrotic Syndrome
  • Alopecia Areata
  • Lichen Planus
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Vitiligo
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis)

Immunosuppressive medicines are those conventional (allopathic) drugs, which help, in allergic, inflammatory and auto-immune diseases by suppressing the immune response of the body. It may be noted that the immunosuppressive medicines may prove to be effective in treating the diseases, but with following riders attached :

  • Temporary relief
  • Significant adverse effects
  • Relapse of diseases, which are at times hard to manage.
  • Drug dependency.

The purpose of this details what we share is neither to criticize the efficacy of immunosuppressive medicines, nor to discuss their adverse effects; but to review the difficulty they pose when we initiate their ayurvedic treatment.

Some of the commonly used conventional (immunosuppressive) medicines which may mask the diseases (without necessarily curing them), can be listed as under :

  • Cortisone (steroids) (oral, topical application, injections, mouth wash) 
  • Tacrolimus (Vitiligo)
  • Methotrexate (In Psoriasis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, etc.)
  • Cyclosporine (In Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis, etc.)
  • Cyclophosphamide (In Nephrotic Syndrome)
  • Propysalic (In Psoriasis)

The patients who approach us for ayurvedic treatment, who may have been eithercurrently taking one of the above mentioned immunosuppressive medicines; or may have taken it in the recent six months time, must note that :

  • As soon as the effect of immunosuppressive medicine gets over, the disease is likely to return or relapse,most of cases patients complain that when we take medicine recovery is there and when we withdraw all pigments get disappear.

    It may help in other skin diseases (Lichen planus, vitiligo, alopecia areata), not in vitiligo case.
  • In any case, the immunosuppressive medicines are never supposed to be taken life long. On stopping them some day, the relapses are likely to happen. For better management, it is suggest that patient turn to ayurvedic treatment rather then this kind of medicine in allopathy segment.
  • When stopping immunosuppressive medicine or withdrow disease may incease in other parts of body also when patient start ayurvedic treatment. This situation might give a feeling that the return of disease or an increase of disease is caused by ayurvedic medicine !
  • It must be noted that ayurvedic medicines do not cause increase of the disease in such conditions, as some people believe it or face it.
  • The disease that returns on stopping immunosuppressive medicines is likely to be more severe than before.
  • The relapse which happen after withdraw of immunosuppressive medicine ,new patch which induce in body having  more resistant than before it have. It may be noted that even after starting ayurvedic treatment, such cases are likely to show relapse.

    In cases of relapse after stopping immunosuppressive medicines, is not an indication of failure of ayurvedic medicines; it must be noted.
  • One is likely to need it again, as no milder medicine might work.
  • Patients body is likely to get dependent or addicted to immunosuppressive medicines on using it frequently. Such cases are often called drug dependent diseases.
  • Patients who have immunosuppressive medicine dependent diseases, they can still be managed with ayurvedic; but it may take time. Some to the cortisone dependent or cortisone resistant cases Ayurvedic cannot be a short cut for such difficult diseases.

Patients must know that ayurvedic is an effective medical system. However, some disease situations can be really difficult. The diseases treated and masked using immunosuppressive medicines fall in the category of difficult diseases.

Careful evaluation, thorough medical knowledge, strategic planning, sound ayurvedic experience on the side of the treating ayurvedic doctor; combined with patient's compliance can help success in long term management of such diseases.

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