Doctors May Wait Too Long to Up Rx for Severe Acne

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Doctors May Wait Too Long to Up Rx for Severe Acne
Doctors May Wait Too Long to Up Rx for Severe Acne

FRIDAY, Oct. 30, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients with severe acne remain on antibiotics too long before they are prescribed more effective medication, according to research published online Oct. 30 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

A team led by Seth Orlow, M.D., Ph.D., chair of dermatology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, reviewed the medical records of 137 patients over the age of 12. All were treated for severe acne at Langone between 2005 and 2014.

On average, the patients were kept on antibiotics for 11 months before their doctors decided the antibiotics were not effective. Patients were then switched to isotretinoin. The researchers also found that it took an average of nearly six months from the time doctors first mentioned isotretinoin until patients began taking the drug. Reasons for the long delay included strict controls placed on isotretinoin due to its risk of causing birth defects, and concerns about other potential side effects such as depression.

"Our study suggests that physicians need to recognize within weeks, not months, when patients are failing to respond to antibiotic therapy in cases of severe acne," Orlow said in a Langone news release.

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