Format

Send to

Choose Destination
J Am Acad Dermatol. 1997 Nov;37(5 Pt 1):746-54.

Effectiveness of norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol in treating moderate acne vulgaris.

Author information

1
Dermatology Research Associates, Inc., Cincinnati, OH 45230, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

An excess of androgen is believed to contribute to development of acne in some patients. Because oral contraceptives (OCs) may reduce the active androgen level, hormonal therapy with OCs has been used successfully to treat patients with acne, although this treatment has previously not been studied in placebo-controlled trials.

OBJECTIVE:

Our purpose was to evaluate the efficacy of a triphasic, combination OC (ORTHO TRI-CYCLEN [Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Raritan, N.J.], norgestimate/ethinyl estradiol) compared with placebo in the treatment of moderate acne vulgaris.

METHODS:

Two hundred fifty-seven healthy female subjects, 15 to 49 years of age with moderate acne vulgaris, were enrolled in a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Each month for 6 months, subjects received either 3 consecutive weeks of the OC (i.e., tablets containing a fixed dose of ethinyl estradiol [0.035 mg] and increasing doses of norgestimate [0.180 mg, 0.215 mg, 0.250 mg]) followed by 7 days of inactive drug or placebo (color-matched tablets). Efficacy was assessed by facial acne lesion counts, an investigator's global assessment, a subject's self-assessment, and an analysis of within-cycle variation (cycle 6) in lesion counts.

RESULTS:

Of the 160 subjects in whom efficacy could be evaluated, the OC group showed a statistically significantly greater improvement than the placebo group for all primary efficacy measures. The mean decrease in inflammatory lesion count from baseline to cycle 6 was 11.8 (62.0%) versus 7.6 (38.6%) (p = 0.0001), and the mean decrease in total lesion count was 29.1 (53.1%) versus 14.1 (26.8%) (p = 0.0001) in the OC and placebo groups, respectively. In the investigator's global assessment, 93.7% of the active treatment group versus 65.4% of the placebo group were rated as improved at the end of the study (p < 0.001). Six of the seven secondary efficacy measures (total comedones, open comedones, closed comedones, papules, pustules, and the subject's self-assessment of study treatment) were also significantly more favorable in the OC group compared with the placebo group.

CONCLUSION:

An OC containing 0.035 mg of ethinyl estradiol combined with the triphasic regimen of norgestimate is a safe and effective treatment of moderate acne vulgaris in women with no known contraindication to OC therapy.

PIP:

To evaluate the efficacy of a triphasic combined oral contraceptive (OC) in the treatment of moderate acne vulgaris, 231 healthy US volunteers 15-49 years of age with this dermatologic condition were enrolled in a phase III, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Each month for 6 months, subjects (n = 110) received either 3 consecutive weeks of Ortho Tri-Cyclen (containing a fixed dose of 0.035 mg of ethinyl estradiol and 0.180, 0.215, and 0.250 mg of norgestimate) followed by 7 days of inactive drug or placebo. The OC group showed significantly greater improvement than controls on all efficacy measures. The mean decrease in inflammatory lesion count from baseline to the sixth cycle was 11.8 (62.0%) among cases and 7.6 (38.6%) in controls, while the mean decrease in total lesion count was 29.1 (53.1%) versus 14.1 (26.8%) in the OC and placebo groups, respectively. In the investigator's global assessment, 93.7% of women in the treatment group and 65.4% of controls were rated as improved at the end of the study. Similarly, more cases than controls considered their acne "improved" at the study's end and expressed a preference for this therapy over other forms of acne treatment. These findings indicate that treatment of moderate acne vulgaris with a low-dose triphasic OC is safe and effective in women with no contraindications to OC use.

PMID:
9366821
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center