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Systemic Antibiotics and Acne

Dan K. Chalker, MD; J. Graham Smith Jr., MD
JAMA. 1975;234(10):1058. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03260230058028.
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Initially, antibiotics were used in the treatment of acne in the belief that the pustular component represented a secondary bacterial infection. Penicillin and suflonamides were among the first antibacterial agents to be tried, but were found to be ineffective.1 Tetracycline was introduced by Andrews et al2 in 1951 and has gained widespread acceptance among dermatologists as an effective mode of therapy.3-5 In this month's issue of Archives of Dermatology (p 1630), Akers et al report that 10% of the tetracyclines and 2% of the erythromycines produced in this country are used by dermatologists to treat acne. This form of therapy was questioned, however, in a QUESTION AND ANSWER series in The Journal in 1974.6 Responses ranged from "there is as yet no proof that these drugs [tetracyclines] have a beneficial effect" to their use represents "an accepted modality of therapy in indicated cases."

As Akers et


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