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Spironolactone effectively treats acne in adolescent females


AT SPD 2018

Spironolactone is a safe and effective treatment for acne in adolescent females, results from a single-center retrospective study have shown.

Dr. Erin Roberts of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Doug Brunk/MDedge News

Dr. Erin Roberts

In an interview at the annual meeting of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology, study author Erin Roberts, MD, said that while spironolactone is widely used in dermatology for treating acne vulgaris in women, it is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of acne, likely because published data are lacking. In addition, she said, less is known about its use, safety, and efficacy in the pediatric population.

Dr. Roberts, a resident in the department of dermatology at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and her associates retrospectively reviewed 80 female patients younger than 21 years of age who were treated with spironolactone and topical therapies alone, or with spironolactone plus oral antibiotics and/or contraceptive pills. All patients were seen by clinicians at the Mayo department of dermatology and were followed for a mean of 11.2 months.

The mean age of patients was 19 years and 71.3% had acne flares with their menstrual cycles, 67.5% had acne located on the jawline, 58.8% had concomitant use of an estrogen-containing oral contraceptive, and 93.8% were unresponsive to other oral treatments prior to using spironolactone.

The median spironolactone daily dose was 100 mg, and ranged between 25 mg and 200 mg. Following acne score assessments, the researchers observed that 64 of the 80 patients (80%) experienced improvement of acne on treatment with spironolactone, while 16 (20%) did not respond and were subsequently escalated to oral isotretinoin therapy. Three patients (3.8%) experienced side effects, most commonly lightheadedness, headache, and fatigue, while five patients stopped taking the medication because of adverse effects, cost, or personal preference.

“It was nice to see that spironolactone did improve acne,” Dr. Roberts said. “We think of it as something to use for patients in their 20s, but not as much for patients in their teens. I think it could be a good option for them.” She also recommended starting patients on a dose of 100 mg daily. “We saw that it does have a dose response,” Dr. Roberts said. “It wasn’t until patients got to 100 mg daily that we started to see significant improvement.”

She reported having no financial disclosures.

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