New acne medications that combine active ingredients provide a powerful and effective treatment option against acne, according to a leading dermatologist speaking at a 2012 medical conference of pediatricians.
“I can wipe out virtually anyone’s acne,” said Dr. Lawrence Eichenfeld, Assistant Chief of Pediatric and Adolescent Dermatology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).
Topical retinoids are now considered the standard therapy for most cases of acne because they treat “microcomedos”, the early precursors of a zit. In some cases, a topical or oral antibiotic, such as minocycline or doxycline, may be added to the treatment regimen.
The Propionibacterium acnes (P. Acnes) bacterias that causes the acne lesions to become inflamed can develop resistance to topical antibiotics. However, combining them with benzoyl peroxide reduces the risk of developing resistance.
Some pharmaceutical firms are now developing combination treatments that combine acne medications. Some medications combine benzoyl peroxide with clindamycin, such as Benzaclin®. Others combine a topical retinoid with other agents, such as Ziana® (tretinoin + clindamycin) and Epiduo® (adapalene + benzoyl peroxide)
Dr. Eichenfeld considers these medications to be “excellent products“, but added that the drawback is the added cost. He pointed out that some of these combination acne medications can run as much as $160 a tube.
Dr. Eichenfled suggested that acne patients look for rebate coupons on the Internet.
Dr. Eichenfeld pointed out that topical treatments alone may not bring moderate to severe acne under control. In many cases, oral antibiotics may need to be prescribed in combination with topical retinoids. Older teenage female patients may be prescribed birth control pills as a way of reducing sebum production. In cases of severe acne, when the risk of developing acne scars is high, oral isotretinoin (Accutane) remains a standard of care.
The full story of Dr. Eichenfeld’s comments were published in Internal Medicine News.