Topical nicotinamide, commonly known as niacinamide, can be used as an adjuvant treatment for discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) along with other treatments, according a research published in the Journal of Cosmetics Dermatology.
The current treatments for DLE are challenging, highly expensive and not available easily, noted the pilot study, headed by Ahmed Hassan Nouh, MD from the Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Andrology at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.
According to the researchers, they selected topical nicotinamide as a treatment option because of its anti-inflammatory properties, photo-protective properties, vasoactive effects that reduce redness of the skin, improve skin barrier and is inexpensive compared with other medications.
“Current therapies of DLE are challenging and not completely satisfactory, highly expensive, off-label, or poorly available (like anti-malarials due to COVID-19 outbreaks),” the researchers stated in the study. “Nicotinamide, also called niacinamide, is a water-soluble form of vitamin B3 (niacin). Its multiple effects let us think that nicotinamide could be a therapy for lupus-associated skin lesions.”
The team conducted a randomised double-blind clinical trial on 60 subjects diagnosed with DLE. This group used topical nicotinamide 2 per cent and 4 per cent preparations in form of cream and gel, while the control group used only cream and gel base as placebo.
According to the study, results from the topical nicotinamide preparations were effective and had minimal side effects. The researchers noted that changing the concentration of preparation or providing patients with special instructions may counter the side effects. They also found that topical 4 per cent nicotinamide was comparatively superior to the 2 per cent variant in terms of effective results; however, it was also associated with higher incidence of skin irritation.
The researchers also noted that further trials with long-term therapy, follow-up period, and bigger sample sizes were required. The study can be accessed here.