Patients Advised to Request Spironolactone (Aldactone) for Resistant Acne Treatment from Their Doctors

About 25% of women suffer from acne and spironolactone (Aldactone, CaroSpir, Spiroton, Verospiron), a treatment prescribed for people with high blood pressure, has been shown in a new study that it could help many women who suffer from persistent acne.


Acne Credit: University of Southampton

Acne in adults, especially in women, is becoming increasingly common.  Potentially 25 to 30% of women can get acne at some point during their lives. In 95% of people with acne, the face is the area most commonly affected by it. This skin condition usually has an impact on quality of life and self-esteem. Therefore, many patients do everything to treat it.

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A recent study was done by researchers at the University of Southampton (England) to find out if spironolactone a drug already FDA approved for treating hypertension, is effective against the skin condition.  During the double blind study women with acne have been given either a placebo or spironolactone for 24 weeks. The participants that took the medication saw dramatic improvements in their condition. The treatment was mostly safe and the only significant Side effects reported in the treatment group were related to headaches.

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“It reduces the main hormone responsible for the development of acne,” Alison Layton, author of the research, said in a statement. To reach this conclusion, the researchers conducted a study published in the journal The BMJ. For their work, the researchers recruited 410 women over the age of 18 who had suffered from facial acne for more than six months and had been prescribed antibiotics. Half of the participants were divided into two groups. The first group received spironolactone (50 mg/day until week 6 and then 100 mg/day until week 24), while the other volunteers received a placebo. All patients were asked to complete questionnaires on acne and quality of life at the beginning of the study and again at 12 and 24 weeks after the start of treatment.

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“The work showed that women taking spironolactone had significant improvement in their acne after 12 and 24 weeks compared to those taking placebo,” said Miriam Santer, co-author of the study. According to the authors, side effects were slightly more common in the spironolactone group, with more headaches (20% versus 12% in the placebo group).

“These results show that spironolactone may be an alternative to antibiotics for many women with persistent acne, in addition to current treatments for this skin condition. We hope that the publication of these results will enable more general practitioners and dermatologists to prescribe spironolactone as a safe treatment for acne,” concluded Miriam Santer.


Effectiveness of spironolactone for women with acne vulgaris (SAFA) in England and Wales: pragmatic, multicentre, phase 3, double blind, randomised controlled trial



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