Nav: Home

Doctors turning to antibiotic alternatives to treat acne, Rutgers researchers find

April 24, 2019

Physicians are scaling back on prescribing antibiotics for long-term acne treatment in favor of a combinations of therapies, according to Rutgers researchers.

The findings, published as Part I and Part II in the journal Dermatologic Clinics, surveyed studies on acute and long-term acne treatments over the past decade to identify trends.

"People are more conscious about the global health concern posed by the overuse of antibiotics and that acne is an inflammatory, not infectious, condition," said Hilary Baldwin, clinical associate professor of dermatology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. "Overuse of antibiotics also can promote the growth of resistant bacteria, which can make treating acne more challenging."

Prolonged use of antibiotics can affect the microbiome (the trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi that inhabit our bodies) in areas other than the skin, resulting in disease. The report noted that people who use topical and oral antibiotics were three times as likely to show an increase of bacteria in the back of their throat and tonsils compared with non-users. Long-term use of antibiotics in acne treatment also is associated with an increase in upper respiratory infections and skin bacteria and was shown to affect a user's blood-sugar level.

However, doctors are increasingly exploring combinations of therapies instead of antibiotics for long-term treatment. Baldwin said there is renewed interest in the antibacterial medication benzoyl peroxide that often is used in combination with topical retinoids, which are medicines derived from vitamin A. One benefit is that benzoyl peroxide, which kills the acne-causing bacteria, helps the skin shed more effectively, reduces clogged pores and does not promote resistant acne-inducing bacteria strains.

Although acne is common in teens, it can continue into adulthood, affecting mainly women. The report notes that about 50 percent of women in their 20s, one-third in their 30s and one-quarter in their 40s suffer from the condition. The oral medication spironolactone is particularly effective in women. Although this medication, which is typically prescribed for high blood pressure, heart failure and swelling, is not FDA-approved for acne treatment, it is commonly used for disorders related to androgens, a group of sex steroid hormones.

Since hormone imbalance can trigger acne, doctors are looking to hormonal therapies, which target androgens in the development of acne and have been shown to be effective, safe and require little continual monitoring.

The researchers said laser and light therapies and regulating diet also show promise as non-antibiotic alternatives, but more research is needed. "Our patients often ask about the role diet plays in acne development, but that remains unclear," said Baldwin. "However, there is some evidence that casein and whey in dairy may promote clogged pores and that low levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in foods such as fish contribute to inflammation that can lead to acne."

In severe acne, early intervention with the retinoid isotretinoin is effective without antibiotics. "This oral medication is unique among acne therapies in that it has the potential to not just treat acne but to eradicate it. It is 80 percent effective if a complete course is taken," said co-author Justin Marson, a medical student at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. "Studies also have disproven internet theories that the medication increases the risk of depression, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease."

However, the researchers note, antibiotics remain highly effective for moderate to severe cases of inflammatory acne and are approved by the FDA as a supplement to other treatments such as benzoyl peroxide or a topical retinoid.

"Numerous studies have shown that these combinations are fast, effective and help reduce the development of resistant strains of bacteria that causes acne, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that antibiotics be used for a maximum of six months," Baldwin said.
-end-


Rutgers University

Related Bacteria Articles:

Bacteria might help other bacteria to tolerate antibiotics better
A new paper by the Dynamical Systems Biology lab at UPF shows that the response by bacteria to antibiotics may depend on other species of bacteria they live with, in such a way that some bacteria may make others more tolerant to antibiotics.
Two-faced bacteria
The gut microbiome, which is a collection of numerous beneficial bacteria species, is key to our overall well-being and good health.
Microcensus in bacteria
Bacillus subtilis can determine proportions of different groups within a mixed population.
Right beneath the skin we all have the same bacteria
In the dermis skin layer, the same bacteria are found across age and gender.
Bacteria must be 'stressed out' to divide
Bacterial cell division is controlled by both enzymatic activity and mechanical forces, which work together to control its timing and location, a new study from EPFL finds.
How bees live with bacteria
More than 90 percent of all bee species are not organized in colonies, but fight their way through life alone.
The bacteria building your baby
Australian researchers have laid to rest a longstanding controversy: is the womb sterile?
Hopping bacteria
Scientists have long known that key models of bacterial movement in real-world conditions are flawed.
Bacteria uses viral weapon against other bacteria
Bacterial cells use both a virus -- traditionally thought to be an enemy -- and a prehistoric viral protein to kill other bacteria that competes with it for food according to an international team of researchers who believe this has potential implications for future infectious disease treatment.
Drug diversity in bacteria
Bacteria produce a cocktail of various bioactive natural products in order to survive in hostile environments with competing (micro)organisms.
More Bacteria News and Bacteria Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans 2.0
More than test scores or good grades–what do kids need for the future? This hour, TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, both during and after this time of crisis. Guests include educators Richard Culatta and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 3: Shared Immunity
More than a million people have caught Covid-19, and tens of thousands have died. But thousands more have survived and recovered. A week or so ago (aka, what feels like ten years in corona time) producer Molly Webster learned that many of those survivors possess a kind of superpower: antibodies trained to fight the virus. Not only that, they might be able to pass this power on to the people who are sick with corona, and still in the fight. Today we have the story of an experimental treatment that's popping up all over the country: convalescent plasma transfusion, a century-old procedure that some say may become one of our best weapons against this devastating, new disease.   If you have recovered from Covid-19 and want to donate plasma, national and local donation registries are gearing up to collect blood.  To sign up with the American Red Cross, a national organization that works in local communities, head here.  To find out more about the The National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project, which we spoke about in our episode, including information on clinical trials or plasma donation projects in your community, go here.  And if you are in the greater New York City area, and want to donate convalescent plasma, head over to the New York Blood Center to sign up. Or, register with specific NYC hospitals here.   If you are sick with Covid-19, and are interested in participating in a clinical trial, or are looking for a plasma donor match, check in with your local hospital, university, or blood center for more; you can also find more information on trials at The National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project. And lastly, Tatiana Prowell's tweet that tipped us off is here. This episode was reported by Molly Webster and produced by Pat Walters. Special thanks to Drs. Evan Bloch and Tim Byun, as well as the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.