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Efficacy of octenidine dihydrochloride and 2-phenoxyethanol in the topical treatment of inflammatory acne.

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Department of Dermatology und Venereology, University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 8, A-8036 Graz, Austria.



With the increase in antibiotic-resistant strains of microorganisms in acne lesions, the search for alternative treatment methods has become important. We studied the efficacy of a combination of the antiseptic substances octenidine dihydrochloride and 2-phenoxyethanol (O/P) in mild to moderate inflammatory acne vulgaris.


Thirty patients were instructed to apply O/P once or twice daily for a 6-week treatment period. Determination of efficacy included the numerical documentation of inflammatory and non-inflammatory lesions within defined regions of the face by the investigator, and photodocumentation of the clinical picture as well as the fluorescence pattern under Wood's light.


Twenty-four patients completed the study. The number of papules and pustules decreased more than 50% in seventeen and nineteen patients, respectively. Acne lesions worsened in only one patient. Mild adverse reactions (erythema, burning, and scaling) were seen in two patients. Therefore, O/P was highly effective in treating inflammatory lesions of facial acne, but there was no essential efficacy in the non-inflammatory primary acne lesions.


Topical O/P is a good and cost-effective alternative in the treatment of mild to moderate inflammatory acne lesions and may allow reduced application of anti-acne antibiotics to prevent development of resistance.

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