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Why Topical Retinoids Are Mainstay of Therapy for Acne

DOI: s13555-017-0185-2  PMID: 28585191

Acne-focused dermatology expert groups have consistently recommended that most patients with acne be treated with a combination of topical retinoid and antimicrobial therapy. This is based on clinical data as well as evidence that these drug classes have different and complementary mechanisms of action that target multiple aspects of acne’s complex pathophysiology. Recent evidence-based guidelines for acne, including those from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) and the European Dermatology Forum (EDF), have agreed that retinoids have an essential role in this widespread disease. The AAD states “retinoids are the core of topical therapy for acne because they are comedolytic, resolve the precursor microcomedone lesion, and are anti-inflammatory;” further, they “allow for maintenance of clearance.” Despite uniform recommendation for use of topical retinoids, a recent study of prescribing practices from 2012 to 2014 indicated that dermatologists prescribed retinoids just 58.8% of the time while non-dermatologists prescribed them for only 32.4% of cases. In this article, we review the reasons supporting retinoids as the mainstay of acne therapy and discuss some of the perceived barriers that may be limiting use of this important drug class. Further, we discuss how and when titrating retinoid concentrations may be utilized in clinical practice.

Leyden J,  Stein-Gold L,  Weiss J

About Dr. J. Kim

Dr Kim developed (and is continuing to develop) dermatology research news as we way from dermatologists to stay on top of the latest advances in the field of dermatology.

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