(HealthDay News) — At six months, oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) are comparable to systemic antibiotics for acne management, according to a review published in the September issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Eubee Baughn Koo, from Harvard University in Boston, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to compare the efficacy of antibiotics and OCPs in managing acne. Thirty-two randomized controlled trials were included in the analyses.
At three and six months, the researchers found that both antibiotics and OCPs effected greater percent reduction in inflammatory, noninflammatory, and total lesions compared with placebo. At each time point the two treatments achieved similar results, except that antibiotics were superior to OCPs in percent reduction of total lesions at three months (weighted mean total lesion reduction: three-month course of oral antibiotic treatment, 48.0%; three-month course of OCPs, 37.3%; three-month course of placebo treatment, 24.5; six-month course of oral antibiotic treatment, 52.8%; six-month course of OCPs, 55.0%; six-month course of placebo treatment, 28.6%).
“Although antibiotics may be superior at three months, OCPs are equivalent to antibiotics at six months in reducing acne lesions and, thus, may be a better first-line alternative to systemic antibiotics for long-term acne management in women,” the authors write.