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J Drugs Dermatol. 2014 Feb;13(2):126-9.

Spironolactone and topical retinoids in adult female cyclical acne.



To access the efficacy of spironolactone and topical retinoids in the treatment of female cyclical acne.


A retrospective chart review on 41 female patients age 19-57 years old with cyclical acne was performed. Patients were examined over the course of 2 to 102 months while taking 50 to 200 mg of spironolactone and topical tretinoin 0.025% or adapalene 0.1% cream. All were diagnosed with acne rated mild to severe, prior to treatment, and were started on an initial dose of 50 mg po daily. If significant improvement was not seen within the first 3-6 months, the dose was either held or increased in 25 mg increments every 3 months. Patients on oral and topical antibiotics, as well as patients on photodynamic therapy were excluded from the study. The response to treatment was rated on a 0-4 scale with 0 being no response and 4 corresponding to clear skin.


One patient (2.4%) had no response to treatment. This patient was only on 50 mg po daily for only 2 months. Only 5 (12.2%) patients had minimal response to treatment and 9 (22.0%), 12 (29.3%), and 14 (34.1%) had a good, excellent, or clear response respectively. The study showed 26 (63.4%) women on treatment with spironolactone and topical retinoids had an excellent or clear outcome, and 35 (85.4%) were considered to have a good, excellent, or clear response.


The addition of spironolactone to topical retinoid treatment suggests a superior response to retinoids alone in clearance of female adult cyclical acne.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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