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Drugs. 1994 Jul;48(1):59-70.

Acne. A review of optimum treatment.

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  • 1Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Acne vulgaris is a disease of the pilosebaceous unit of the skin. It may have profound psychological sequelae. The lesions are due to abnormally adherent keratinocytes causing plugging of the follicular duct followed by accumulation of sebum and keratinous debris. This results in the formation of the primary lesion of acne, the comedo. Inflammation of comedones produces papules, pustules and nodules, which often prompt patients to seek treatment. Various effective treatments include topical anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and peeling agents, oral antibiotics, topical and oral retinoids, and hormonal agonists and antagonists. Useful combination regimens are discussed, and treatment approaches suggested. Mild cases of comedonal acne may respond to a topical retinoid or benzoyl peroxide, while inflammatory lesions benefit from topical antibiotics. More severe inflammatory acne is treated with systemic antibiotics. Recalcitrant cases often require oral isotretinoin or hormonal manipulation.

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