April 26, 2006

Low-dose isotretinoin effective for moderate acne

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Low doses of isotretinoin
(brand name, Roaccutane or Accutane) are effective for treating
moderate acne, according to a study in the Journal of the
American Academy of Dermatology.

"The efficacy of isotretinoin at (regular doses) in the
treatment of acne is well established and considered safe,
although sometimes not easily tolerated because of its
cutaneous side effects," Dr. Marcelo H. Grunwald, of Soroka
University, Beer-Sheva, Israel, and colleagues write.

The researchers tested a lower dose, to see if it worked
while reducing side effects, in a study of 638 patients with
moderate acne. The participants were divided into two age
groups -- 495 who were 12 to 20 years of age, and 122 who were
21 to 35 years of age -- and were treated with 20 milligrams of
isotretinoin daily for six months.

Overall, 21 patients withdrew from the study.

In the younger group, 95 percent achieved a significant
improvement or complete remission of their acne. Relapse
occurred in 20 patients (4 percent) during follow-up over a
4-year period.

In the older group, 93 percent improved significantly or
had complete remission. Acne relapses occurred in seven
patients (6 percent) during follow-up.

The most common side effects in both groups were mild
inflammation of the lip and mild dryness of the skin.

"Six months of treatment with low-dose isotretinoin,"
Grunwald's team concludes, "was found to be effective in the
treatment of moderate acne, with a low incidence of severe side
effects and at a lower cost than higher doses."

SOURCE: Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology,
April 2006.