Treating Acne in Women: Oral Contraceptives as Effective as Antibiotics

A new review of past clinical trials has shown that when it comes to long-term acne treatment for women, oral contraceptives work as well as antibiotics. In the short term of 3 months antibiotics were more effective but in the long term, after 6 months, contraceptives were equally effective. The longer time period for contraceptives is due to a different mechanism for stopping acne. While antibiotics reduce immediate inflammation from acne, oral contraceptives work by stopping the development of new acne. This is good news for women as a combination birth control and antibiotic treatment might decrease the need for Isotretinoin, a medicine with a high risk for birth defects. Additionally if an oral contraceptive is prescribed to treat acne it most likely will be covered by an employer’s health plan even if it is not covered to prevent pregnancy.

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