What is the role of topical antibiotics in the treatment of acne vulgaris?

Updated: Mar 26, 2019
  • Author: Jaggi Rao, MD, FRCPC; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
  • Print
Answer

Topical antibiotics are mainly used for their role against C acnes (formerly P acnes). They may also have anti-inflammatory properties. Topical antibiotics are not comedolytic, and bacterial resistance may develop to any of these agents. Commonly prescribed topical antibiotics for acne vulgaris include clindamycin, erythromycin, or, more recently, dapsone. Topical dapsone is a new sulfone antibiotic with anti-inflammatory properties that has been shown to be effective for mild-to-moderate acne, and it has a convenient once-daily application schedule. [38] It is available as 5% twice-daily and 7.5% once-daily formulations. [38] The current American Academy of Dermatology guidelines preceded the FDA approval of the 7.5% formulation. Although no research has compared the efficacy of the 5% formulation with the 7.5% formulation, both have been separately shown to be efficacious and safe. The 7.5% formulation has the additional compliance factor of once-daily application. [33, 38]


Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!