Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology
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Home Interventions and Light therapy for the treatment of vitiligo


The HI-Light Vitiligo Trial is a clinical trial involving 440 participants aged 5 years and over with vitiligo. The purpose of this study is to test the effectiveness of home-based light therapy using hand-held units and topical steroid for the treatment of vitiligo.

The study is being led by Dr Jonathan Batchelor and Professor Kim Thomas from the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology at The University of Nottingham, and is being co-ordinated from the Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit.

The trial is now recruiting in hospitals throughout the UK. 


Interested in taking part?

If you think you or your child may be eligible to participate in this study, please fill in the Expression of Interest Form.

For all other enquiries, please email hilight@nottingham.ac.uk


Key Facts

1. What is vitiligo?

Vitiligo is a skin condition that causes white patches on the skin. It affects around 0.5%-1.0% of the population worldwide, both children and adults.

2. Who is eligible?

We are looking for 440 adults and children (from 5 years of age) across the UK with a few relatively small patches of vitiligo, and at least one patch that has appeared or has enlarged in the last 12 months.

3. What treatments are you testing?

Steroid ointment applied to the skin and home-based light therapy are the two treatments being tested in this study. These two treatments will be used alone or in combination, in order to see if combination treatment works better than either treatment alone.

In order to prevent anyone from guessing a participant’s treatment, dummy UVB devices and placebo steroid ointment will be used.

4. How long will the study last for?

The trial is funded for just over 4 years, starting November 2014. We expect that recruitment will take up to 18 months and will start in late spring 2015.

Study participants use their treatments at home for 9 months, during which time they will visit their recruiting hospital every 3 months. They will also be asked to fill in some questionnaires at home. Once the treatment has been completed, we will stay in touch for another year so that you can tell us how the vitiligo is. Total involvement in the study is for 21 months.

5. Where will you be recruiting participants?

The following hospitals are recruiting for the HI-Light Vitiligo Trial:

  • Cannock Chase Hospital
  • St Lukes, Bradford
  • University Hospital Wales, Cardiff
  • Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital
  • Solihull Hospital
  • West Ambulatory Care Hospital, Glasgow
  • Whipps Cross Hospital, London
  • Birmingham Children’s Hospital
  • York Hospital
  • Royal Derby Hospital
  • Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham
  • Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
  • University Hospital of North Durham
  • Royal London Hospital
  • The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough
  • Birmingham City Hospital

The following hospitals are in the set-up phase and not yet recruiting:

  •  University Hospital of North Durham
  •  The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough
6. What happens during the trial?

Please download one of the Participant Information Sheets (right-hand panel) if you are interested in finding out more about the HI-Light Vitiligo Trial.

If you or your child would like to take part, you will be asked to attend your nearest participating hospital, where a research nurse will talk to you about the trial and examine the vitiligo. If you are included in the trial, you will be asked to use both an ointment and a hand-held light therapy unit for up to 9 months.

You will be given training on how to use these treatments and will be able to ring the research nurse if you have any problems or questions. A training video is available to help you.

So that we can see if the treatments are working, we will take photographs of the vitiligo before and after treatment, and you will be asked to return to the clinic every 3 months for the 9-month period when you are using the treatments.



Participant information


April 2016 - HI-Light recruitment milestone reached

December 2015 - HI-Light recruitment milestone reached


Feasibility, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, multi-centre trial of hand-held NB-UVB phototherapy for the treatment of vitiligo at home (HI-Light trial: Home Intervention of Light therapy). Eleftheriadou V, Thomas K, Ravenscroft J, Whitton M, Batchelor J, Williams H. Trials. 2014 Feb 8;15:51. doi: 10.1186/1745-6215-15-51.

Vitiligo. Ezzedine K, Eleftheriadou V, Whitton M, van Geel N. Lancet. 2015 Jul 4;386(9988):74-84. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60763-7. Epub 2015 Jan 15.
[This Lancet Seminar reviews the epidemiology, classification, pathophysiology, management & impact of vitiligo]

For Researchers

 Final Protocol - 3.0 Sep 2015 PDF format  Previous version: vs 2.0 PDF format

MED testing training resource

Newsletter Issue 1 (Jan 2015) PDF format

Newsletter Issue 2 (Apr 2015) PDF format

Newsletter Issue 3 (Sep 2015) PDF format




This is an independent trial that is being funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme (Application Reference 12/24/02). The views expressed on this website are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR.

The study has been developed with the help and support of the UK Dermatology Clinical Trials Network (UK DCTN). Based at the University of Nottingham, the UK DCTN is a collaborative group of over 700 dermatologists, nurses, primary care staff, health care researchers and patients/carers. The aim of the Network is simple – to develop independent, high quality randomised controlled clinical trials of interventions for the treatment or prevention of skin disease. For further information please see the UK DCTN website - www.ukdctn.org.


Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology

The University of Nottingham
King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 823 1048