Efficacy and cutaneous safety of adapalene in black patients versus white patients with acne vulgaris

Cutis. 2002 Oct;70(4):243-8.


Acne vulgaris is the most common dermatologic disorder seen in American black patients (ie, African Americans and African Caribbeans, Fitzgerald skin types IV through VI). Despite its prevalence, there is a lack of data on the effects of treatments, such as the use of topical retinoids and retinoid analogs, in this patient population. Adapalene is a topical retinoid analog that has demonstrated efficacy in the reduction of noninflammatory and inflammatory lesions, along with excellent cutaneous tolerability. Most clinical studies of this agent have involved predominantly white patient populations. This meta-analysis of 5 randomized US and European studies was designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of adapalene in black versus white patients. The percentage reduction in the number of inflammatory lesions was significantly greater among black patients compared with white patients (P=.012). The percentage reductions in total inflammatory and noninflammatory lesion counts were similar in the 2 groups (P>.3). There were significantly less erythema and scaling in black patients compared with white patients (P<.001 and P=.026 for worst scores for erythema and scaling, respectively). Although the incidence of dryness was similar in both groups, a smaller percentage of black than white patients had moderate or severe scores for dryness (7% vs 18%, respectively). In summary, adapalene appears to be a viable treatment for black patients with acne vulgaris.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Acne Vulgaris / ethnology*
  • Adapalene
  • Administration, Topical
  • African Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Humans
  • Naphthalenes / therapeutic use*
  • Safety
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Naphthalenes
  • Adapalene