Study suggests practitioners are over-prescribing antibiotics for acne patients

11 Jul 2016

A study released at the British Association of Dermatologists annual meeting suggests that patients are exceeding the recommended time of antibiotic use for acne before being referred to a dermatologist.

The study reviewed the oral antibiotic duration for 928 patients with acne. The results suggested that the average duration of antibiotic use prior to a dermatologist referral was six and a half months, with the longest being 84 months.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that unless acne improvement is seen, general practitioners should only continue to prescribe antibiotics for up to three months before referring the patient to a dermatologist. In cases where patients are responding to treatment, NICE recommends it should continue for four to six months alongside topical treatments.

The study was conducted by Dr Alison Layton and the dermatology team at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, including Dr Heather Whitehouse, who said, “Antibiotics remain an important part of acne management, but given concerns about antibiotic resistance we should be using antibiotics judiciously as part of a treatment regime, limited to the shortest possible time period.”

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