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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2009 Oct;10(15):2555-62. doi: 10.1517/14656560903277228.

Benzoyl peroxide: a review of its current use in the treatment of acne vulgaris.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Center for Dermatology Research, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1071, USA.



Owing to the use of topical and systemic antibiotics for acne vulgaris, the incidence of antibiotic-resistant Propionibacterium acnes is increasing worldwide. Topical benzoyl peroxide (BPO) is an alternative to antibiotics in the treatment of acne vulgaris.


This review describes and evaluates recent clinical literature regarding the efficacy and tolerability of BPO.


A PubMed literature search was conducted using the keywords benzoyl peroxide, acne, and combination therapy.


BPO is equally effective at concentrations of 2.5, 5.0 and 10%. However, a concentration-dependent irritant dermatitis can occur with higher concentrations. The efficacy of BPO can be enhanced when used in combination with topical retinoids, antibiotics and tertiary amines. BPO-containing combinations do not induce bacterial resistance and are important first-line treatments for mild to moderate acne vulgaris.

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