Prescribing Antibiotics to Patients with Acne

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Shannon Humphrey, MD, FRCPC, FAAD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Director of Continuing Medical Education, Department of Dermatology and Skin Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

The pathogenesis of acne is tied to Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), an anaerobic bacteria. There has been a dramatic rise in resistance to antibiotics that are usually prescribed to treat acne. Given resistance to antibiotic therapy can occur in more pathogenic bacteria than P. acnes, and the fact that a rise in pathogenic P. acnes has been reported, the development of antibiotic resistance in acne is a public health matter globally. Clinical practice guidelines are aiming to curb the further development of antibiotic resistance without detracting from effective management of both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne.
Key Words: acne vulgaris, antibiotic resistance, benzoyl peroxide, anti-inflammatory, sub-antimicrobial dosing.