Duration of antibiotic use for acne decreasing slowly

June 30, 2014

Physicians are prescribing antibiotics for acne for shorter durations, but almost one-fifth of antibiotic therapies for acne still exceed six months, according to results of a recent study.

Physicians are prescribing antibiotics for acne for shorter durations, but almost one-fifth of antibiotic therapies for acne still exceed six months, according to results of a recent study.

For the retrospective cohort study, researchers with Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pa., reviewed data from the MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database to examine the duration of antibiotic therapy among 31,634 courses prescribed. Most courses (93 percent) lasted for les than nine months. Mean course duration was 129 days, according to the study.

Nearly 58 percent of treatment courses did not include concomitant topical retinoid therapy. The mean duration (95 percent confidence interval) with and without topical retinoid use was 133 days (131.5-134.7) and 127 days (125.4-127.9), respectively. The mean excess direct cost of antibiotic treatment for more than six months was $580.99 per person.

Study authors noted that while the duration of antibiotic use is decreasing compared to previous data, “5,547 (17.3 percent) courses exceeded six months, highlighting an opportunity for reduced antibiotic use.”

The findings were published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology