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Acne antibiotics and drug resistance

Long-term use of antibiotics to treat acne doesn't seem to spur bacteria into becoming resistant to the medications.

Acne antibiotics and drug resistance

Long-term use of antibiotics to treat acne doesn't seem to spur bacteria into becoming resistant to the medications.

The finding came as a bit of a surprise, since widespread use of antibiotics has been credited with encouraging antibiotic resistance in bacteria generally.

Researchers in America conducted a survey study of 83 patients treated for acne to determine the frequency of S. aureus colonization and to compare the susceptibility patterns between patients who were using antibiotics and those who were not using antibiotics. Staphylococcus aureus is found in both hospital and community settings. While S. aureus colonizes the skin, it can also be responsible for localised skin infections and life-threatening systemic infections.

At one time, it was sensitive to many antibiotics and antimicrobial agents. However, because of its ability to adapt to these therapies and become resistant, there are several clinical conditions today in which few therapeutic options remain to treat it. Therefore, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) has become commonplace.

The researchers found that 36 of the acne patients were colonised with S. aureus. Two of those 36 patients had MRSA; 20 had S. aureus solely in their throats; one-quarter had S. aureus only in their noses, and seven had it in both their noses and throats.

Long-term use of antibiotics decreased the prevalence of S. aureus colonisation by nearly 70 percent. A decreased rate of colonisation was noted with the use of both oral and topical antibiotics. Surprisingly, fewer than 10 percent of the isolates of S. aureus were resistant to tetracyclines, the most commonly used antibiotic family to treat acne.

Resistance to the antibiotics erythromycin and clindamycin was commonly seen and was noted both in  patients who did and did not use antibiotics. The findings contradict current beliefs about long-term use of antibiotics.

However, future research needs to be directed towards resistance development in the bacterium called P. acnes, which is the underlying culprit in most cases of acne.
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