Antibiotics for Acne

Doctors frequently prescribe an antibiotic for acne, which can be extremely helpful if you have mild or moderate pimple problems. It can also lessen severe condition without having to resort to the powerful but dangerous drug Accutane. Acne antibiotic treatment may include both oral and topical antibiotics, or even a combination of the two.

How can this medication treatment help?

An acne antibiotic works because bacteria called P. acnes are a large part of your skin problem. When pimple flares and your pores clog, the bacteria living in your skin (yes, we all have them) help block your pores and go to work making an infection. The infections lead not only to ugly whiteheads and pimples, but also to deeper skin irritation, redness and sensitivity.

The way modern science deals with these bacteria is with treatment using antibiotic, which kills P. acnes, preventing these pests from causing infections. You may still develop blackheads but whiteheads and pimples as well as larger cysts and potential for scarring will be minimized with the use of this antibiotics treatment.

What is the difference between an oral and topical antibiotic?

Antibiotic for acne can kill bacteria in two ways. Your doctor will likely try one of the topical treatments first. These come in a gel, lotion or cream that you apply once a day after washing your affected skin area. The antibiotic is able to get into your pores and battle bacteria directly.

Sometimes the medication is best used with one of the benzoyl peroxide washes or creams you can buy at any drugstore. This combination works well for a lot of patients, but it may take a few weeks to see major improvement, as outbreaks heal and bacteria dies off. If the medication doesn’t seem to be helping you, your doctor may try a different one. He may also switch you to the oral medication.

There are several kinds of oral antibiotic to cure this skin problem available. These drugs are a systemic treatment, meaning they work to kill the P. acnes aggravating your skin by making your entire body a lousy place for bacteria to live. If you’re prescribed with the oral medicine, it may take up to six weeks to see if the treatment is working, because that’s how long it takes for an entire new layer of skin to grow. If the cure method works, you can expect to stay on it for at least six months, to be sure all of the bacteria are killed. Unfortunately, there is a chance that your pimple problems will come back after you stop taking the medicines.

You may have to try different oral medicines or even you should combine it with a topical treatment like benzoyl peroxide or Retin-A to get good results. Part of the problem with using this type of treatment is that P. acnes, like all bacteria, can become resistant to drugs. It’s estimated that up to half of the bacteria can resist at least one, sometimes more, of the oral or topical antibiotic options. If you combine this treatment with benzoyl peroxide or Retin-A, the problems with bacterial resistance are often reduced.

What are the possible side effects of this antibiotic cure?

If you use antibiotic to clear your pimples, you may experience side effects, depending on which drug is used and how well you tolerate it. If you have a bad reaction to any oral treatment such as upset stomach, tell your doctor so he can switch you to a different drug. With all oral and the topical options, you’ll need to wear sunblock. These drugs make you more sensitive to sunlight and you will burn. Stay out of the tanning salon while you’re applying antibiotic cure procedure.

You’ll need to be monitored regularly by your doctor while using an antibiotic for acne, because these drugs can cause various liver problems when used for a long time. If you’re also taking a birth control pill, the oral medicines can interfere with the pill and it may fail to keep you from getting pregnant.

What are the acne antibiotic treatment options?

Here is a list of the acne oral antibiotic and topical options. Effectiveness of each of these depends on your personal P. acnes strain’s resistance to the drugs. Every person has different condition. What works for a friend may not work for you, though in general, the use of the acne antibiotic treatment Erythromycin is dropping because of increasing bacteria resistance to it.

If you have insurance, nearly all of these will be covered under the cheaper co-pay for generic drugs. If you are not insured, the price listed is an average of what you will pay for a month’s supply at a U.S. pharmacy. The price is for generic versions, if available. Remember to check around, some pharmacies charge less than others.

Acne Topical Antibiotic Options (price range = different container sizes):
* Azelaic Acid – $65
* Clindamycin – $25-40 Note: The most common version of this drug is the name brand Clindagel: $60-75
* Erythromycin – $12, typically least effective

Acne Topical Antibiotic Combinations:
* Clindamycin/Benzoyl Peroxide, sold as BenzaClin or Duac – $70-140
* Erythromycin/Benzoyl Peroxide, sold as Benzamycin – $70-140
* Glycolic Acid/Benzoyl Peroxide/Zinc, sold as Triaz – $100-200

Acne Oral Antibiotic Options (priced for average dose):
* Doxycycline – $30
* Erythromycin – $25
* Minocycline – $95
* Tetracycline – $15
* Trimethoprim/sulfanethoxazole – $15