One question every teenager or (young) adult suffering from acne would ask doctors and dermatologists is whether or not there are prescription drugs for long-term acne treatment.
But many people already know, by heart, the stories that abound therefrom: that acne is an age-related and inflammatory skin infection with no exact cure and that there are antibiotic drugs, the use of which are not highly recommended.
While it is common for patients to disparage the expert’s competence for making them develop cold feet with respect to ridding themselves of the disfiguring skin disease, there are very strong reasons why these professionals don’t keenly approve of antibiotics for long-term acne treatment.
In a recent study published in the journal Dermatologic Clinics, researchers surveyed studies on acute and long-term acne treatments and made quite troubling discoveries.
Prolonged use of antibiotics was found to be capable of affecting the microbiome (trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that inhabit the human body) in areas other than the skin. This, according to the researchers, results in disease.
“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, professor of dermatology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, USA.
“Overuse of antibiotics can also promote the growth of resistant bacteria, which can make treating acne even more challenging.”
People who used topical and oral antibiotics were found to be three times more likely to show bacteria increase at the back of their throat and tonsils compared to non-users.
Long-term use was also linked to an increase in upper respiratory infections and skin bacteria and may affect a user’s blood-sugar level. This made researchers consider alternatives like therapy combinations instead of antibiotics.
Suggesting laser and light therapies and regulative diets as promising and non-antibiotic alternatives, the researchers added that early intervention with retinoid isotretinoin could also suffice but only in serious cases.
“Numerous studies have shown that these combinations are fast, effective and help reduce the development of resistant strains of bacteria that causes acne,” Baldwin explained.
“This oral medication (retinoid isotretinoin) has the potential to not just treat acne but to eradicate it. It is 80 percent effective if a complete course is taken,” added Justin Marson, a medical student at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.