Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics for acne treatment either in the form of lotions, skin creams, or tablets. Antibiotics attack the bacteria on your skin that cause acne. It normally takes around one to two months of treatment to see a noticeable improvement. Antibiotics are easily available, being used from a long time and they are unlikely to cause side effects.
Antibiotics must be taken for six to eight weeks before results are evident and treatment should be continued for at least six months to prevent the development of bacteria. You can discontinue taking antibiotics once the inflammation has resolved.
Antibiotics work by decreasing the number of bacteria and by reducing the irritating chemicals produced by white blood cells. Moreover, antibiotics also reduce the concentration of free fatty acids in the sebum.
The most frequently used topical antibiotics for acne treatment are Clindamycin – comes in Clinac® solution, Dalacin T® gel, lotion, solution & Topicil® solution and Erythromycin – comes in Stiemycin® solution, Eryacne® gel.
The most commonly prescribed oral antibiotics for acne include: Tetracycline – comes in tetracycline (Panmycin®), Minocycline – (Mino-tabs®, Minomycin®), Doxycycline – (Doxine®, Doxy® & Doryx®). Erythromycin – comes in Emu-V®, Eryc®, Eromycin®, E-mycin®, EES® & ERA®. Trimethroprim – comes in Triprim® & TMP®. Cotrimoxasole – comes in Apo-Sulfatrim®, Trisul®, Trimel®, Bactrim® & Septrin®.
Most common side effects may include photosensitivity, upset stomach, dizziness or lightheadedness, hives, lupus-like symptoms, and skin discoloration. Contact dermatitis (red, dry, itchy skin) can be due to irritancy or allergy, which can be treated with a topical steroid such as hydrocortisone cream. Some women report a higher incidence of vaginal yeast infection while taking antibiotics, which can be treated with over-the-counter anti-fungal medication or a prescription anti-fungal, such as Diflucan. Tetracycline is not given to pregnant women or children under 12 years of age. Allergy to tetracycline or erythromycin is very uncommon but arises in more than 2% of those on trimethoprim or cotrimoxasole.
It is strongly believed that antibiotics can weaken the immune system and acne often returns when people stop taking antibiotics.
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