Woman praises cheap new drug for completely clearing her 'horrible' acne in just weeks
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A woman has praised a cheap new drug for managing to clear her ‘horrible’ acne within a matter of weeks.
Mum-of-three Kelly Cornick, 39, said she had been prescribed various creams, as well as the contraceptive pill, to try to control her acne - which was so bad that it was even mistaken for chicken pox.
Cornick, from Dorset, said: “It was embarrassing. People would stare and you almost feel that they’re looking at you like you’re dirty and don’t wash properly.
“I think the worst thing for me was when one of my nieces said: ‘Have you got chicken pox?’”
Hope finally came in the form of the first large-scale clinical trial of a cheap drug used to treat high blood pressure, which experts realised could also help people suffering from persistent acne.
A team of researchers led by the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit found that the drug, spironolactone, could change the way acne in women is routinely treated, while also reducing the amount of antibiotics prescribed for the condition.
Results showed that women taking the drug saw a ‘significant improvement’ of their acne within as few as 12 weeks.
Cornick said: “Initially I started on the lower dose and there was an improvement. I then went on to the higher dose and within about three months everything was gone, all the spots had disappeared.
“Knowing how much it’s helped me, I hope that other people will now be given this treatment as an option instead of just trying the antibiotics. I want people to be able to experience it, because everyone should feel confident and happy, and not have spots.”
The study, funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), involved more than 400 women aged over 18 who had acne that persisted for more than six months, and where oral antibiotics would have normally been the next treatment.
Half of the participants randomly allocated to take spironolactone, while the other half were given a placebo.
Professor Miriam Santer, GP and co-lead of the trial, said: “The results showed that the women taking spironolactone saw a significant improvement in their acne after 12 and 24 weeks compared to those on the placebo.
“A significantly higher proportion of people also reported that they felt satisfied that their skin had been helped compared with those receiving placebo, and any side effects were uncommon and very minor.
“These results show that spironolactone could offer an alternative to antibiotics for many women with persistent acne to use alongside topical acne treatments.”
She added: “We hope the publication of these results will mean more GPs and dermatologists feel confident to prescribe spironolactone as a treatment for acne.
“The drug is already included in treatment guidelines for persistent acne in the US and Europe, and we hope this trial will lead to a change in the UK guidelines.”
The trial results come after the Commission on Human Medicines recommended new safety measures for the use of another anti-acne drug, isotretinoin – also known as Roaccutane – after a number of people died by suicide while taking the medicine.
Others also reported depression, anxiety and psychotic symptoms, while cases of sexual dysfunction were reported by some patients who had been prescribed the medicine - and in some cases symptoms had continued after patients had stopped taking the drug.
The review into the treatment concluded that the benefits of the drug, which is prescribed to treat severe acne, still outweigh the risks but that extra measures should be taken to improve safety.