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Adding Cabtreo to the Acne Vulgaris Tool Box


Christopher Bunick, MD, PhD, reviews Cabtreo’s recent FDA approval and what the new triple-combination gel means for acne patients.

Cabtreo (Ortho Dermatologics; formerly known as IDP-126) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration yesterday for the treatment of patients aged 12 years and older with acne vulgaris. Cabtreo is the first FDA-approved fixed-dose triple-combination gel (clindamycin 1.2%/adapalene 0.15%/benzoyl peroxide 3.1%) for patients with acne. Cabtreo is expected to be available in Q1 of 2024.1

The FDA approval of Cabtreo was a conversation starter at Fall Clinical 2023, as many clinicians have been eagerly waiting for the approval of the triple-combination gel. Christopher Bunick, MD, PhD, associate professor of dermatology and physician-scientist at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, was thrilled to hear the news of approval. Bunick, a Dermatology Times Editorial Advisory Board member, shared his thoughts on the exciting approval, the significance of the triple-combination formula, and Cabtreo’s 75% to 80% reduction in both inflammatory and non-inflammatory lesions.


Christopher Bunick, MD, PhD: Hi, I'm Christopher Bunick, associate professor of dermatology at physician-scientists at Yale University. I'm out here in Las Vegas at Fall Clinical 2023. And once again, we have breaking news of a new product approved by the FDA. For this particular product, it is in the acne space and it's called Cabtreo. The long-awaited molecule known as IDP-126 has a name, Cabtreo. It is the first 3-ingredient acne product at fixed doses to be approved. So, what does this mean for our acne patients? This is a medicine that has some of the strongest if not the strongest clinical trial data for a topical ever seen. What was seen? Well, around 50% of patients had clear or almost clear skin at week 12 of using this product once daily. This equates to about a 75% to 80% reduction in both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne lesions.

This is a game changer in efficacy for the topical therapy of acne for our acne patients. The second key point to take home is compliance, compliance, compliance. One of the hardest things we deal with in treating acne patients is compliance with our medications, whether it's topical or oral. Here we have 3 medicines in a unique polymetric mesh that allows them to synergize unlike ever before, this is going to revolutionize compliance and therefore treatment success of our acne patients. I am thrilled that Cabtreo is finally here, and I am excited to start using it in my patients and see how its real-world efficacy is.

[Transcript edited for clarity]


  1. FDA approves Cabtreo (clindamycin phosphate, adapalene and benzoyl peroxide) topical gel for the treatment of acne vulgaris in patients twelve years of age and older. Bausch Health Companies Inc. News release. October 20, 2023. Accessed October 21, 2023. https://ir.bauschhealth.com/news-releases/2023/10-20-2023
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