Using antibiotics for acne does not make bacteria resistant to medication, contrary to what was believed before, reports a new study.
Researchers at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine led by Dr. David Margolis studied the presence of Staphylococcus aureus
bacteria on 83 patients treated for acne. Although in the beginning this bacteria is sensitive to antibiotics and antimicrobial agents, the researchers explain that because of its ability to adapt to these therapies and become resistant, they have become rigidly antibiotic-resistant. And that is why methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) has become a health threat today.
In this study which appears in the journal Archives of Dermatology
, looked at 83 patients being treated for acne, nearly 50 per cent had been treated with antibiotics and between 40 per cent and 50 per cent had the bacteria in their throats or noses. What proved to be interesting was patients who were taking antibiotics for some time to treat their acne showed less evidence of staph bacteria because the acne drugs were killing nose and throat bacteria in addition to the bacteria that cause acne. The staph bacteria had not built up antibiotic resistance.
"The prolonged use of antibiotics from the tetracycline class that are commonly used to treat acne lowered the prevalence of colonization by S. aureus
and did not increase resistance to the tetracycline antibiotics," report the researchers. "Future research should be conducted with respect to other organisms and antibiotics."
While the long-term use of tetracyclines is still to be determined, the antibiotic is administered with a topical benzoyl peroxide, and the course of treatment is restricted to a maximum of 3-4 months.
Dr. Guy Webster, a dermatologist at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, says, "A lot of the public panic about treating acne with antibiotics is unwarranted, at least as far as Staph aureus and resistance goes."