Two common acne drugs are now being used together in a new therapy studied at Henry Ford Hospital

Combined therapy of acne meds offers new treatment

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) - People who are dealing with a troubling acne problem now have a new therapy they can try. 

The regimen involves using two common acne medications at the same time – the oral antibiotic doxycyclin and the topical ointment called Epiduo Gel. The gel contains adapalene and benzoyl peroxide.

"I don't even recognize myself," smiled Erica Epstein.  The 17-year-old started using the therapy five months ago after battling acne since she was 12.

"My skin is really clear.  I get the occasional kind of little blemish. But compared to what it was, it's a complete transformation," said Epstein.

Henry Ford Hospital was one of 34 treatment centers in the U.S. and Canada involved in a study of the combination therapy.  It was the only hospital in Michigan to take part.

The study involved 459 patients.  Of those, 76% received the regimen of Epiduo Gel and doxycycline as initial therapy for 12 weeks, then Epiduo Gel as maintenance therapy for 24 weeks.  That group showed the highest reduction in acne lesions. 

Fifty-percent of those people said the combination therapy cleared or nearly cleared their acne lesions.

"It's a nice treatment regimen, and what's interesting is that it's actually changed the way I practice medicine," said Dr. Linda Stein Gold – Director of Clinical Research at Henry Ford Hospital , co-author of the study, and Division Head of Dermatology at Henry Ford's West Bloomfield satellite.

"Now because of the data and because in the study we were able to get patients off of oral antibiotics pretty quickly, I now try that [regimen] more in my practice," she added.

"I explain to my patients…that you don't have to be on antibiotics for years at a time or even six months," said Dr. Stein Gold.

Dr. Stein Gold said side effects include dryness and irritation in the first two weeks.

The topical is a brand name, so patients may need to make sure their insurance can cover the cost of the gel.  The oral medication is generic doxycycline.

The findings are from the Acne Combination Evaluation Study in Severe Patients I and II clinical studies. 

The results are published in the February issues of the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology and Journal of Dermatological Treatment.

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