What are medicals suggest of doctor for acne?
If you haven’t been able to control your acne adequately, you may want to consult a primary-care physician or dermatologist. Here are some of the things they can assist with:
Topical (externally applied) antibiotics and antibacterials: These include erythromycin, clindamycin (Benzaclin, Duac), sulfacetamide (Klaron), and azelaic acid (Azelex).
Retinoids: Retin-A (tretinoin) has been around for years, and preparations have become milder and gentler while still maintaining its effectiveness. Newer retinoids include adapalene (Differin) and tazarotene (Tazorac). These medications are especially helpful for unclogging pores. Side effects may include irritation and a mild increase in sensitivity to the sun. With proper sun protection, however, they can be used even during sunny periods. In December 2008 the U.S. FDA approved the combination medication known as combination preparation, known as Epiduo gel, which contains the retinoid adapalene along with the antibacterial cleanser benzoyl peroxide. This once-daily prescription treatment was approved for use in patients 12 years of age and older.
Oral antibiotics: Most doctors start treatment with tetracycline or one of the related “cyclines,” such as doxycycline and minocycline. Other oral antibiotics that are useful for treating acne are cefadroxil, amoxicillin, and the sulfa drugs.
Problems with these drugs can include allergic reactions (especially sulfa), gastrointestinal upset, and increased sun sensitivity. Doxycycline, in particular, is generally safe but can sometime cause esophagitis (irritation of the esophagus, producing discomfort when swallowing) and an increased tendency to sunburn.
Despite many people’s concerns about using oral antibiotics for several months or longer, such use does not “weaken the immune system” and make them more susceptible to infections or unable to use other antibiotics when necessary.
Recently published reports that long-term antibiotic use may increase the risk of breast cancer will require further study, but at present they are not substantiated. In general, doctors prescribe oral antibiotic therapy for acne only when necessary and for as short a time as possible.
Oral contraceptives: Oral contraceptives, which are low in estrogen to promote safety, have little effect on acne one way or the other. Some contraceptive pills have been to shown to have modest effectiveness in treating acne. Those FDA-approved for treating acne are Estrostep, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, and Yaz. Most dermatologists work together with primary physicians or gynecologists when recommending these medications.
Spironolocatone: This drug blocks androgen (hormone) receptors. It can cause breast tenderness, menstrual irregularities, and increased potassium levels in the bloodstream. It can help some women with resistant acne, however, and is generally well-tolerated in the young women who need it.
Cortisone injections: To make large pimples and cysts flatten out fast, doctors inject them with a form of cortisone.
Isotretinoin: (Accutane was the original brand name; there are now several generic versions in common use, including Sotret, Claravis, and Amnesteem.) Isotretinoin is an excellent treatment for severe, resistant acne and has been used on millions of patients since it was introduced in Europe in 1971 and in the U.S. in 1982. It should be used for people with severe acne, chiefly of the cystic variety, which has been unresponsive to conventional therapies like those listed above. Those with milder forms of acne often relapse shortly after finishing a course of isotretinoin, making this drug less useful in such cases. This means that isotretinoin is not a good choice for people whose acne is not that bad but who are frustrated and want “something that will knock acne out once and for all.”
Used properly, isotretinoin is safe and produces few side effects beyond dry lips and occasional muscle aches. This drug is prescribed for five to six months. Fasting blood tests are monitored monthly to check liver function and the level of triglycerides, relatives of cholesterol which often rise a bit during treatment, but rarely to the point where treatment has to be modified or stopped.
Even though isotretinoin does not remain the body after therapy is stopped, improvement is often long-lasting. It is safe to take two or three courses of the drug if unresponsive acne makes a comeback. It is, however, best to wait at least several months and to try other methods before using isotretinoin again.
Isotretinoin has a high risk of inducing birth defects if taken by pregnant women. Women of childbearing age who take isotretinoin need two negative pregnancy tests (blood or urine) before starting the drug, monthly tests while they take it, and another after they are done. Those who are sexually active must use two forms of contraception, one of which is usually the oral contraceptive pill. Isotretinoin leaves the body completely when treatment is done; women must be sure to avoid pregnancy for one month after therapy is stopped. There is, however, no risk to childbearing after that time.
Another concern, much discussed in the popular press, is the risk of depression and suicide in patients taking isotretinoin. Government oversight has resulted in a highly publicized and very burdensome national registration system for those taking the drug. This has reinforced concerns in many patients and their families have that isotretinoin is dangerous. In fact, large-scale studies so far have shown no increased risk for depression and suicide in those taking isotretinoin compared with the general population. Although it is important for those taking this drug to report mood changes (or any other symptoms) to their doctors, even patients who are being treated for depression are not barred from taking isotretinoin, whose striking success often improves the mood and outlook of patients who have suffered and been scarred by acne for years.
Laser treatments: Recent years have brought reports of success in treating acne using lasers and similar devices, alone or in conjunction with photosensitizing dyes. It appears that these treatments are safe and can be effective, but it is not clear that their success is lasting. At this point, laser treatment of acne is best thought of as an adjunct to conventional therapy, rather than as a substitute.
Chemical peels: Whether the superficial peels (like glycolic acid) performed by estheticians or deeper ones performed in the doctor’s office, chemical peels are of modest, supportive benefit only, and in general, they do not substitute for regular therapy.
Treatment of scars: For those patients whose acne has gone away but left them with permanent scarring, several options are available. These include surgical procedures to elevate deep, depressed scars and laser resurfacing to smooth out shallow scars. Newer forms of laser resurfacing (“fractional resurfacing”) are less invasive and heal faster than older methods, although results are less complete and they may need to be repeated three or more times. These treatments can help, but they are never completely successful at eliminating scars.