Which drugs are currently most commonly used to treat acne and acne-related conditions?
The list of most commonly prescribed antibiotics is as long as the list of the most frequently prescribed drugs for depression, according to research published in The Lancet Psychiatry.
The study, led by scientists at the University of Nottingham and the University, of Manchester, found that although the number of antibiotics prescribed has been falling, the use of these drugs has increased in the past three years.
They found that antibiotic prescriptions rose by about 1.5 per cent between 2009 and 2014, with prescription increases of 6 per cent in the first half of 2015, according the study.
A total of 3,000 people aged 18 and over were interviewed in the study and then compared with a random sample of people aged between 18 and 64.
Among the more common prescriptions prescribed for acne were chloramphenicol (2.7 per cent), fludarabine (1.9 per cent) and ceftriaxone (1 per cent).
There were similar rates of antibiotics for depression (1 and 1.2 per cent, respectively), according to the study, which used data from the UK’s National Health Service.
Dr Helen Moyle, from the University’s Department of Epidemiology, said: “Antibiotic prescriptions for acne have been rising over the last decade and this is surprising as these are important drugs for controlling the disease.”
“While the increase in prescriptions may be surprising given that most cases of acne are caused by a lack of hygiene, the rise in prescriptions for antibiotics is concerning as the development of new treatments is slowing down.”
Dr Moyle said that while it was difficult to predict how widespread the use for antibiotics might be, it was not a good sign for patients.
“Antibiotics are not a magic pill that will cure acne but it does provide a much-needed treatment for the condition and it is important that we can ensure that people get the right drugs for their conditions.”
“It is also important to note that the overall trend of prescribing antibiotics is downwards and we would expect that with the increased use of antibiotics, people will continue to take antibiotics and develop a higher risk of developing acne.”
However, if you are currently using antibiotics and you are not concerned about developing acne, there is little reason to worry and it may be worth talking to your GP.
“The researchers also looked at the effect of age on antibiotic use.
They found that the use among those aged 65 and over was the most common, but that the trend was not as pronounced.
Dr Meehan added: “Although older people were less likely to be taking antibiotics, the trend in use among older adults is more pronounced than among younger adults, possibly because older adults are more likely to live alone, and their carers may be less likely, to take their antibiotics.”
Although this is a good start, the data suggests that there are some things that can be done to improve prescribing practices in older adults and that there may be some benefits to increasing the use or even avoiding taking antibiotics in older people.”
For more information: www.lancet.org.uk/journals/lancette/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)60229-4/abstract