Dr. Woolery-Lloyd shares her advice for vitiligo providers and tips for helpful communication with patients.
Brett King, MD: Heather, taking account of everything that we've been talking about? What advice do you have for dermatologists, and other physicians who are going to encounter vitiligo patients? What advice do you have for them in recognizing and treating vitiligo and counseling patients about this disease?
Heather Woolery-Lloyd, MD: I would say my biggest advice is to listen to your patients. That's my biggest advice. Don't make assumptions. Don't assume that it doesn't bother them or that it really bothers them. I also think another big take home is I do always offer my patients hope there are treatments. We have effective treatments, especially on sun-exposed areas. The most I think frustrating thing for vitiligo patients is when someone says, there's nothing we can do. And follow up as needed there's nothing we can do. I don't think that's accurate. The technologies and pharmaceuticals that are coming out right now and will be coming out in the upcoming years are exciting. They offer our vitiligo patients a lot of hope. That's another take home because I do think some people feel vitiligo is something that you just have to live with and you don't need to treat it. Another thing is offer your patients support groups, because it's a disease that people feel very isolated, and reaching out to a support group and participating in group processing meetings, or just even communicating online with people who have your condition, is very helpful for vitiligo patients. And we haven't touched so much on this, but don't forget that we can use camouflage makeup, tell your patients about that, including your male patients because for a lot of patients, it's a very effective way to live with vitiligo.
Brett King, MD: It's so important. You touch on so many important points, the concept that there's nothing that we can do. Well, first of all, there might be actually something that we can do to achieve repigmentation. But another thing that's been brought up repeatedly is what about halting further disease? Almost certainly we can do something for patients there. And it's not true that there's nothing that we can do. We can do something for the vitiligo that's there. We should be thinking about trying to halt further disease. And then beyond these things, there are masking techniques. And then there's just the community. And knowing that you're not the only person that's suffering from this disease, but there are other people, and it's always useful to know that we're not alone in the world suffering with whatever we're suffering from. And you just raise so many important points about the doctor-patient relationship and the different aspects of the visit and the different aspects of the disease to take time to cover with patients. Thank you so much for that.
Amit Pandya, MD: One thing I'd like to mention before Heather goes, if a physician is having difficulty getting coverage for in-office phototherapy or home phototherapy, the global vitiligo foundation website, globalvitiligofoundation.org has sample letters that you can use to get phototherapy coverage in your office, as well as a strong letter for home phototherapy, including references, showing that it works. And then finally an actual four-page handout that you give to the patient that walks them through how to give the treatment to themselves easily at home. I just wanted to mention that.
Brett King, MD: That's an important point. I want to thank you for watching this HCP Live® Peer Exchange. If you enjoyed the content, please subscribe to our e-newsletters, to receive upcoming peer exchanges and other great content right in your inbox.
And lastly, I want to thank, David, Amit, and Heather, amazing and engaging experts, in vitiligo for their time and for sharing their experiences and expertise.
Transcript Edited for Clarity