Which medications in the drug class Antibiotics are used in the treatment of Acne Vulgaris?

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

Antibiotics

Oral antibiotics are useful in inflammatory acne, and improvement is usually seen after several weeks of use. Antibiotic monotherapy is discouraged due to risk of development of resistant bacteria.

Females should be warned about the development of Candida albicans vaginitis. A rare complication of long-term oral antibiotic use is the development of gram-negative folliculitis. Tetracycline class antibiotics can cause sun sensitivity. Doxycycline is associated with GERD, and should be taken at least 30 minutes prior to sleep. Minocycline is rarely associated with a lupuslike syndrome, minocycline-induced hyperpigmentation, and pseudotumor cerebri.

Topical antibiotics are used in almost all acne patients. Monotherapy should be avoided to reduce risk of antibiotic resistance. Concurrent use of benzoyl peroxide eliminates the risk of development of resistance. Topical antibiotics are available as monotherapy or in fixed-dose combination products along with benzoyl peroxide or retinoids. Topical antibiotics used include clindamycin and erythromycin, though resistance to erythromycin favors the use of clindamycin.

Tetracycline

Tetracycline inhibits bacterial protein synthesis by binding with 30S and, possibly, 50S ribosomal subunit(s). Tetracycline has anti-inflammatory activity. Tetracycline may be administered at 250-500 mg PO bid.

Minocycline (Solodyn, Minocin)

Minocycline treats infections caused by susceptible gram-negative and gram-positive organisms, in addition to infections caused by susceptible Chlamydia, Rickettsia, and Mycoplasma species. The brand name Solodyn is an extended-release formulation indicated for acne and is prescribed as a weight-based 1-mg/kg dose per day. The minocycline dose should be lowered in patients with renal impairment.

Doxycycline (Doryx, Adoxa, Doxy 100, Vibramycin)

Doxycycline treats infections caused by susceptible gram-negative and gram-positive organisms. It inhibits protein synthesis and, thus, bacterial growth by binding to 30S and possibly 50S ribosomal subunits of susceptible bacteria. Doxycycline may block dissociation of peptidyl t-RNA from ribosomes, causing RNA-dependent protein synthesis to arrest. The brand name 150-mg Doryx is enteric coated, to reduce adverse gastrointestinal effects.

Sarecycline (Seysara)

Sarecycline is a tetracycline-derived antibiotic specifically created for dermatologic purposes. It possesses a narrow spectrum of activity compared with conventional tetracyclines. It is indicated for treatment of inflammatory lesions of non-nodular moderate-to-severe acne in adults and children aged 9 years or older.

Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Bactrim DS, Septra DS, Sulfatrim)

Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole is an antibiotic with activity against many gram-positive and gram-negative organisms. It inhibits bacterial growth by inhibiting the synthesis of dihydrofolic acid. It is available as 80 mg trimethoprim and 400 mg sulfamethoxazole or as 160 mg trimethoprim and 800 mg sulfamethoxazole (double strength).

Clindamycin (Cleocin)

Clindamycin is a lincosamide for the treatment of serious skin and soft tissue staphylococcal infections. It is also effective against aerobic and anaerobic streptococci (except enterococci). It inhibits bacterial growth, possibly by blocking dissociation of peptidyl tRNA from ribosomes, causing RNA-dependent protein synthesis to arrest. Clindamycin is commonly used topically, but it can be given orally. Oral monotherapy administration should be avoided to reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance. It may administered at 75-300 mg/day in divided doses.

Clindamycin topical (ClindaGel, Cleocin-T, ClindaMax)

Topical clindamycin is a lincosamide for treatment of serious skin and soft tissue staphylococcal infections. It is also effective against aerobic and anaerobic streptococci (except enterococci). It inhibits bacterial growth, possibly by blocking dissociation of peptidyl tRNA from ribosomes, causing RNA-dependent protein synthesis to arrest. It is commonly used topically, but it can be given orally. Apply a thin film twice daily, except for the gel form, which is applied once daily.

Erythromycin topical (Akne-mycin, Erygel, Ery)

Topical erythromycin inhibits bacterial growth, possibly by blocking dissociation of peptidyl tRNA from ribosomes, causing RNA-dependent protein synthesis to arrest. It is commonly prescribed for acne as a topical gel in combination with benzoyl peroxide. Its use is limited because of resistant Cutibacterium acnes (formerly Propionibacterium acnes) strains. Apply twice daily after washing the skin and drying it.

Daptomycin (Cubicin)

Daptomycin binds to bacterial membranes and causes rapid membrane potential depolarization, thereby inhibiting protein, DNA, and RNA synthesis, ultimately causing cell death. It is indicated for complicated skin and skin-structure infections caused by S aureus (including methicillin-resistant strains), S pyogenes, S agalactiae, S dysgalactiae, and E faecalis (vancomycin-susceptible strains only). Daptomycin has been used for the treatment of Cutibacterium (formerly Propionibacterium) osteomyelitis.


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