Severe acne is problematic and so are prolonged antibiotic treatments typically prescribed to patients presenting the dermatological issue.
From over-the-counter acne treatments to lotions, to expensive brand miracle workers, anyone who has suffered from severe acne knows that patients would try anything. Getting rid of the inestetic acne covering visible parts of the skin is the target. However, a new research led by Doctor Seth J. Orlow, professor of pediatric dermatology and dermatologist with the New York University Langone Medical Center indicates there is an increased of prolonged antibiotic exposure related to medically prescribed treatments.
After trying any variety of self-treatment, patients with severe acne consult a dermatology office for the best outcomes. Before starting them on isotretinoin (Accutane), a powerful antibiotic treatment for dermatological issues, dermatologists tend to prescribe less potent antibiotics to their patients.
Partly motivated by fear of having contact with antibiotics that are too powerful, some patients also insist that they start with others rather than isotretinoin.
The research team led by Doctor Orlow looked at the medical records of 137 patients with severe acne registered with the New York University Langone Medical Center dermatology practice. All patients used antibiotics at first. Only afterwards did they choose to continue acne treatment with isotretinoin.
Two thirds of the patients followed antibiotic treatment for a median of 11 months. One third clocked 12 months or more of antibiotic treatment for severe acne. Eventually, they were prescribed isotretinoin.
The main concern raised by the findings of the research is that prolonged antibiotic treatment may in fact lead to antibiotic resistance. Already an issue due to large-scale antibiotic use in poultry and livestock in farms, antibiotic resistance leads to decreased protection in front of a number of viruses that have become immune to antibiotics. Severe acne is problematic and so are prolonged antibiotic treatments.
Patients with severe acne following antibiotic treatment for so long should take a look at guidelines issued by the Global Alliance to Improve Acne Outcomes. The guidelines recommend a maximum period of three months. Currently, practice shows antibiotic treatment is followed for a four-time longer timespan.
The study results are published in the American Academy of Dermatology journal. Among the recommendations, Doctor Orlow and colleagues ask that dermatologists openly discuss their experience with patients and recommend that isotretinoin treatment is started sooner in order to limit overall antibiotic exposure.
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