Combined therapy of acne medications offers new treatment option for patients

March 14, 2012, Henry Ford Health System

A combined therapy of common acne medications was shown to be a potent regimen for treating patients with severe facial acne, according to two published studies involving Henry Ford Hospital.

The companion studies found that a therapy of the topical Epiduo Gel containing adapalene and benzoyl peroxide and the antibiotic doxycycline proved more effective at reducing lesions compared to other .

Of the 459 involved in the study, 76 percent of those who received the regimen of Epiduo Gel and doxycycline as initial therapy for 12 weeks, then Epiduo Gel as for 24 weeks, showed the highest reduction in acne lesions and 50 percent said it cleared or nearly cleared their acne lesions.

Findings from the studies are published in the February issues of the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology and Journal of Dermatological Treatment. Henry Ford was one of 34 participating sites in the United States and Canada, and the only hospital in Michigan.

Acne is the most common skin disease that affects nearly all adolescents and adults at some time in their lives. While it isn't a life threatening disease, acne can have profound psychological effects on patients, says study co-author and dermatologist Linda Stein Gold, M.D., director of Clinical Research of Dermatology at Henry Ford.

"In adolescents and young adults, acne is associated with compelling psychosocial consequences, including depression and low self-esteem," Dr. Stein Gold says. "This regimen gives patients who suffer from severe acne a new treatment option."

The findings are from the Acne Combination Evaluation Study in Severe Patients (ACCESS) I and II clinical studies. The double-blind studies evaluated the safety and effectiveness of combination therapy using the Epiduo Gel with doxycyline, a member of the tetracycline family of antibiotics used to treat infections. Adapalene and benzoyl peroxide contained in the Epiduo Gel are common medications used to fight acne.

Researchers evaluated data from four regimens patients received during 36 weeks of treatment. They were:

-- Epiduo Gel and doxycyline, followed by Epiduo Gel.
-- Placebo and doxycyline, followed by Epiduo Gel.
-- Epiduo Gel and doxycyline, followed by placebo.
-- Placebo and doxycycline, followed by placebo.

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